Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has invited Chinese investors to examine the potential of industrial agriculture, supply chain and value chain in Cambodia. This thorough understanding, he said, will foster market inclusiveness, orientation and effective investment.

The statement was made during a meeting with representatives from Danong Development Group on industrial agriculture investment on August 8.

The meeting at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh focused on a range of topics. These included the establishment of seed production, fodder crops, cattle and pig farming, construction of a fodder warehouse, and a freight port for exporting agricultural products to China, along with other pertinent infrastructures.

“The Chinese side will collaborate closely with the expert teams within the agriculture ministry. Confidence is also vital before commencing the investment,” said Tina.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy expressed particular interest in the construction of a freight port for exporting products to China.

He pointed out that the need for such ports in Cambodia has been an ongoing issue. Currently, many Chinese companies require ports in the Kingdom to export products to China.

Chanthy also detailed a specific problem where a Chinese company sought his intervention regarding exportation from Cambodia to China.

“Our CLA and our stakeholders conducted several studies to find the pathways to export products to countries in the region and to China. Some exporting routes are feasible if we have memoranda of understanding [MoU] with them.

“However, those countries also seek benefits from such arrangements, which can complicate the process. If they don’t gain any benefit from it, they won’t allow the shipment to pass through their ports,” he said.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), underscored the high potential of agriculture in the Kingdom, noting that Chinese investors are at the forefront of foreign investment in the country ‘s agriculture sector.

He also highlighted the strong relationship between the governments of Cambodia and China, and the increasing number of Chinese tourists and investments in the Kingdom.

“Their investments in agriculture seem to be gaining momentum lately,” he observed.

Heng further commented on Cambodia’s favourable investment environment. “We have a good investment law now along with tax incentives. What is still lacking is the focus on the reduction of production cost, electricity price and other incentives.”

The increase in investment from China might be attributed to several factors. These include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a new Cambodian investment law, and preferential treatment for products from Cambodia in major markets.

Such preferential arrangements include the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) from the US, the Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme with the EU, and special trade agreements with the UK.