Khmer Times | 14 August 2017
US examines food standards
by Chea Vannak and Sum Manet
The United States, one of the Cambodia’s key trading partners, is going to assess sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in Cambodia, opening up the opportunity for Cambodian agricultural products to be exported to the US.
Sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards were one of topics discussed by Cambodian delegates and US trade representatives on strategic actions to taken to broaden and strengthen trade and investment under the US-Cambodia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
Hean Vanhan, director-general of the Agriculture Ministry said it was important for Cambodia to be able to export agricultural products to the US because it was one of the big markets for Cambodia.
“It is a positive move to help explore markets for Cambodian agricultural products because Cambodia cannot depend on only a few markets such as the EU or China,” Mr Vanhan said.
“We have been working so far to push the US to accelerate work on Cambodia’s sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in a bid to place agricultural products from Cambodia on the US market.
“In the garment sector, Cambodia gets a tariff-free quota for exports to the US but in agricultural products, the sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards are a big barrier to exports.”
The Agriculture Ministry was ready to working with the Ministry of Commerce and US authorities in providing documents on sanitary and phyto-sanitary inspections, Mr. Vanhan said.
At the meeting last week in Washington D.C., the two delegations reviewed Cambodia’s current efforts to improve trade facilitation and labour conditions as well as protect US intellectual property rights, according to a post at the Ministry of Commerce’s website.
The US will also provide technical assistance on food safety and consumer protection to Cambodia to build up of the trust of consumers, said the post.
Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said: “Cambodia is working hard to put trade development and investment laws in place to support an open and welcoming business environment in close collaboration with the US government, because the United States is a key trading partner with Cambodia.”
In his meeting with Diane Farrell, deputy assistant secretary for Asia at the US Department of Commerce, Mr Sorasak sought the department’s help to assist small and medium enterprises in Cambodia. He also asked for US assistance in implementing intellectual property laws.
According to the Commerce Ministry, Ms Farrall said she would assist Cambodia in building up its human resources and enforcing trade-related laws in Cambodia.
Trade in goods between Cambodia and the US amounted to $1.54 billion in the first six month of this year, a 14 percent rise on the same period last year, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Last year, trade volume was $3.2 billion, a 7 percent decrease on 2015.