Expo Aims To Promote Cambodian Products

Cambodia Expo 2005 was launch­ed at the Cambodiana Ho­tel in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

The exposition showcases hundreds of locally made products and is intended to attract domestic and foreign buyers and distributors, Ministry of Commerce Sec­retary of State Sok Siphana said.

“Our objective is to disperse in­for­mation on all Khmer-made pro­ducts. [The market] need[s] to know what [goods] we have,” Sok Siphana said at a news conference.

Cambodia imports far more pro­ducts than it exports, and the government is keen to address the im­balance, Sok Siphana said, adding that Cambodia is ready to export soya milk, palm wine, Angkor  beer, cashew nuts, organic rice and clothing products.

“We need to figure out what ob­­stacles [are blocking] domestic products from competing on an international level,” Sok Siphana said.

The government would also lower tax rates for technology-based products to improve those companies’ ability to compete, he added.

One company showcased at the expo is RTC Cambodia. The company—run by Marion Fromm and staffed by 12 disabled employees—produces 20 flavors of gour­met jams sold at supermarkets in Phnom Penh.

“Our production standards meet Australian health requirements,” Fromm said, adding that the company is planning to build a $500,000 factory.

“In 2005 to 2006 we will purchase land and build a purpose-built factory for workers with disabilities somewhere in the prov­inces,” she said. “We hope to employ 100 land mine victims.”

Banh Leng, president of Cash­ew Nut Cambodia Co, said his company faced difficulties amassing stock because of Vietnamese buyers who buy cashew nuts illegally at deflated prices in Cam­bo­dia.

“I have informed the Com­merce Ministry and the governor of Kom­pong Cham that we should avoid illegal collectors,” Bang Leng said.

His company exported 200 tons of cashew nuts last year, at a price of $950 per ton.

“We can enter [foreign markets] easily, because our cashews are chemical free,” he said.

Among the more original pro­ducts showcased at the expo are pieces of art and furniture made from weapons parts.

The items are designed by Nong Petpiseth, an artist for the NGO Peace Art Project Cambo­dia.

“It is difficult to [make them]. It takes us 10 days to finish one type of product,” Nong Petpiseth said.


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