Negotiations on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) commitments for a number of potential Cambodian agricultural exports to China have made remarkable progress at a brisk pace, according to the Kingdom’s top agriculture official on September 13.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon made the remarks at the 7th ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on Sanitation and Phytosanitary Cooperation, which he co-chaired with General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) Vice-Minister Wang Lingjun.
Sakhon asked Wang to expedite the development of SPS standards for more Cambodian crops, to ratchet up the Kingdom’s agricultural exports to China.
“We remain committed to continuing and strengthening SPS cooperation between ASEAN and China, to facilitate the flow of food and agricultural products across borders, taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
As Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director-general for Agriculture Ngin Chhay previously told The Post, Chinese authorities only consider a single product per country at a time to import.
Longan is expected to be next product to be officially exported directly to the Chinese market after an SPS protocol for fresh mango exports was signed on June 9, 2020.
On August 25, the GACC provided the Kingdom a list of eight biosecurity risks posed by pests associated with the fruit and requested a new report that outlines preventative measures addressing these concerns, according to the minister.
He said Beijing “has promised to continue the evaluation procedure when the Cambodian side responds” and “hopes that the two sides will continue to strengthen cooperation to encourage [compliance with] phytosanitary requirements for Cambodian longan exports to China to be a success”.
Pailin Longan Agricultural Production Cooperative president Suos Siyat told The Post last month that while phytosanitary requirements are a major obstacle to exporting the fruit, he expects Phnom Penh and Beijing to prepare the final version of the protocol for the export of fresh and frozen longan to China early next year.
Currently, China allows Cambodia to directly export a number of agricultural products, including milled rice, fresh mangoes, bananas, cashews nuts and dried cassava chips.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries show that in the first eight months of 2021, Cambodia exported a total of 5,544,894.87 tonnes of agricultural products, a jump of 89.68 per cent over the same period last year.