China may add longan fruit and Pangasius catfish to the list of agricultural products it accepts from Cambodia, according to the Chinese Ambassador to the country, Wang Wentian.
In spite of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) that comes into force on January 1 next year, China restricts the direct import of many Cambodian agricultural products due to health concerns.
Cambodia has listed around 340 more commodities for export to China under the FTA, bringing the total to over 10,000. However, the Kingdom needs to improve sanitary and phytosanitary facilities at its processing plants to meet strict Chinese regulations. Phytosanitary treatment removes pests from crops or renders them inactive.
Sanitary tests will be carried out at longan plantations and catfish farms.
Wang says if results are satisfactory longan imports could start as soon as the next harvest season and catfish imports may also be able to start soon.
His comments came at the inauguration of Cambodia’s National Road 11 on December 6.
“[Infrastructure development] helps to create better conditions for Prey Veng and Tbong Khmum provinces to transport and trade rice, fruits and fisheries,” Wang said. “The Chinese side will continue to help build roads and bridges for Cambodia, help Cambodia achieve economic and social development and improve people’s living standards.”
Currently most longan are exported to Thailand, which then sells them on to China. China banned longan from Thailand on August 13 because some were contaminated with mealybugs.
Pailin longan are grown on about 8,000 hectares of land in Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pursat.
Cambodia already exports bananas and mangoes directly to China. It wants to ship 100,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes a year to the country.
It started shipping bananas to China in 2019. In the first nine months of this year Cambodia exported 300,000 tons of the fruit to China.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.