Diplomatic Activity between India and Cambodia continues despite COVID-19 pandemic

Embassy of India, Phnom Penh, in coordination with Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, organized a Virtual Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) of Buffalo and other Meat Exporters from India and Importers from Cambodia on 28th April 2021.  This BSM is the first-ever joint activity undertaken together by the Embassy of India, Phnom Penh, and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.

Around 61 companies from both sides participated in the event.  During the BSM, and E-catalogue containing details of all participating companies was released for the benefit of companies from both sides.  From the Indian side, H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India, Dr. M. Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA participated in the event and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce was represented by H.E. Mr. Meng Nimol, Deputy Director General and Advisor to Ministry of Commerce.

Dr. M. Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, in his inaugural remarks, stated that as per the current Export & Import Policy of the Government of India, each export consignment of meat is subject to compulsory microbiological and other tests.  All export-oriented abattoirs are the most modern, state-of-the-art integrated meat plants, which are certified for Quality Management (ISO 9001:2008) and  Food Safety Management System (FSSC 22000:2011) and under constant inspection and monitoring by various Government Agencies and Veterinarians. All the plants follow the sanitary and phytosanitary guidelines given in the Codex Alimentarius Code of Hygienic Practices for meat.

In 2020, Buffalo meat exports from India reached USD 17.7 million from USD 6.4 million in 2019 and garner 12.28% of total bilateral trade.  Buffalo meat exports from India to Cambodia in the first two months of 2021 have already reached USD 9.32 million and are expected to see exponential growth in the coming years.

In her Keynote address, H.E. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India, inter alia, spoke at length about meat and meat products consumption patterns in Cambodia, the gap between local production and domestic consumption, and export opportunities for Indian companies.  She also expressed hope that given the world-class facilities and resilient nature of the Indian meat industry, Indian companies will be able to supply good quality meat and meat products to Cambodia at a much cheaper price and increase its already growing market share and further contribute to strengthening trade and commercial relations between the two countries.

Since APEDA also deals with agricultural and processed food products, Dr. Khobragade encouraged APEDA and CCC to have a separate session on opportunities available for both Indian and Cambodian companies in the agriculture sector, which is one of the main pillars of growth in Cambodia contributing a major part of Cambodia’s GDP, and look at the opportunities available in agro-processing sector for Indian industry in Cambodia. She also added that enhanced cooperation in this sector will not only be a win-win situation for both countries but also provide Cambodia with an opportunity to further diversify its agriculture product portfolio in the medium to long term.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Nimol encouraged companies from both sides to interact with each other to explore business opportunities for expanding the trade relations between the two countries.

Ambassador and DDG, CCC expressed satisfaction at the first joint event organized by the Indian Embassy in conjunction with the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.  They resolved that this cooperation will continue and further increase, and also deliberated on the joint action to be taken through 2021-2022 when Cambodia takes over the Chair of ASEAN. Some of these proposed actions include the participation of Indian investors in the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2022, Publication ABIS delegation guidebook, etc.

On 28th April 2021, the Embassy of India, Phnom Penh also organized a virtual webinar between officials of the Ministry of AYUSH in India and the National Centre for Traditional Medicine in Cambodia to discuss possible areas of cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine.  Deliberations during the meeting also included the signing of MoUs at the country and institute level in the field of traditional medicine cooperation between the two countries, possible technical help to NCTM to register Cambodia’s traditional medicine practitioners, establishing manufacturing units by Indian Ayurveda Drug Manufacturers in Cambodia,  Use of Ayurveda medicines for preventing/mitigating COVID-19 in Cambodia, Scholarships for Cambodian nationals interested in studying Ayurveda and other related traditional medicine in India, etc.  After preliminary discussions, both sides decided to continue further consultations between the Ministry of AYUSH of India and the Cambodian Ministry of Health to take the cooperation forward.

Source: India in Cambodia (Embassy of India, Phnom Penh)