UAE seeking investment in Halal food in Cambodia

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering investing in halal food production and rice milling in Cambodia, visiting UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi said here on Tuesday.

WAM Abu Dhabi, Oct 2nd, 2012 (WAM) — Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade and Cambodian Minister of Trade and Commerce, Cham Prasidh, have discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and means to strengthen them in agricultural, services and industrial fields.

Mohammad Ali Omran Al Shamsy, UAE Ambassador to Thailand and non-resident Ambassador to Cambodia was also present on the occasion.

This came during Sheikha Lubna’s official visit to Cambodia along with a high profile trade delegation representing a wide spectrum of UAE industries from various sectors.

During the meeting, Sheikha Lubna thanked the Cambodian side for their kind hospitality and affirmed the UAE’s commitment to strengthening its cooperation in trade and investment with its trade partners. Both parties discussed strengthening bilateral agricultural, industrial and services relations, whereby Sheikha Lubna pointed out that the tourism, textile and food manufacturing sectors are all suitable for the creation of trade partnerships between the two countries.

She also pointed out to the commercial opportunities offered by the UAE through its many trade fairs and expos, which in turn attract a large number of national and international companies and thousands of participants from around the world, adding that the UAE is ranked as the world’s foremost re-exporter of rice, which is a commodity that is competitively produced in Cambodia.

For his part, the Cambodian Trade and Commerce Minister welcomed Sheikha Lubna and her accompanying delegation, expressing his country’s keenness on strengthening its trade partnership with the UAE, which he said enjoys a strong experience in trade that has made it a leading regional country in business and commerce.

He also affirmed his country’s interest in developing its cooperation with the UAE in all fields, adding that Cambodia is a resource rich country and that it requires partnerships that would create more investment opportunities between the two countries, especially in rice cultivation. He also pointed out to Cambodia’s need for trade financing, adding that his country can cooperate with the UAE in the Halal food industry and in creating tripartite partnerships between the two countries and Malaysia. He also assigned points of contact between the two countries in order to follow up on the issues that have been discussed.

At the end of the meeting, Sheikha Lubna extended an official invitation to the Cambodian Minister to participate in the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM 2013), which is organized by the Dubai Ministry of Foreign Trade and is scheduled to take place 29 April – 2 May in Dubai next year.

Sheikha Lubna said her delegation will prepare specific plans for investment in halal food production and rice milling, and the products will be exported to her country.They will come back to Cambodia again in May next year with the specific investment plans.

On the sidelines of the visit, Sheikha Lubna also opened the Cambodia – UAE Trade and Investment Promotion Meeting, which was held at the Cambodian Ministry of Trade’s headquarters with the presence of a large number of Cambodian businessmen from various sectors.

During the meeting, Sheikha Lubna highlighted the UAE Economy’s components and the trade opportunities offered by the country that can be utilized by the Cambodian private sector to expand its operations not only in the UAE, but also in its neighboring countries. The Minister pointed out that the UAE’s advanced infrastructure and state-of-the-art logistical services have made it an export and re-export trade hub both on the regional and international levels. Sheikha Lubna also highlighted the UAE’s advanced standing in international trade reports.

Sheikha Lubna also said that the current volume of bilateral trade between the UAE and Cambodia, which has reached around USD 90 million, can be further augmented in the future through intensifying the involvement of businessmen from both countries and through the utilization of available means.

For his part, the Cambodian Minister underlined the importance of this visit and delivered a detailed presentation on the his country’s economy, which he said offers investors guarantees and ownership that could reach 100 percent in all sectors. The Minister called for cooperation in the rice trade and Halal food industry, adding that his country aspires to become a regional hub for the Halal foods industry. The meeting also saw a discussion that centered on investment and trade opportunities between both countries.

Following both Ministers’ remarks, the floor was open for presentations and discussions from the trade delegation during which Rashid Mubarak Al Hajri, President of “Agthia”, delivered a presentation on his company’s activities and its outlook for cooperating with the Cambodian private sector in the food production industry. He also underlined the importance of increasing participation among businessmen from the Cambodian agricultural sector in the specialized agricultural fairs and expos that are regularly held in the UAE.

Obaid Saeed Al Thahiry, Deputy Executive Director of International Relations at the Abu Dhabi Polymers Company “Borouge” also briefed the participants about his company’s activities and its expansion plans over the coming years.

Sheikha Lubna was also the guest of honor at a working lunch held under the auspices of the Cambodian Minister of Tourism, Dr. Thong Khon, during which both parties discussed boosting cooperation in the hospitality sector and developing the infrastructure of the Siem Reap region, which is considered one of the Asian country’s primary tourism and heritage areas.

The country’s Minister of Trade also held a dinner banquet in honor of Sheikha Lubna and her accompanying delegation.

Both events were also attended by Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Rashid Mubarak Al Hajri, President of “Agthia”, Obaid Saeed Al Thahiry, Deputy Executive Director of International Relations at the Abu Dhabi Polymers Company “Borouge”, Otaiba Al Otaibah, Chairman of “Otaiba Enterprises” and Mohammed Hamdan Al Zoaby, Head of the Ministry’s Trade Promotion Department.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Trade issued a detailed study on trade relations between the UAE and Cambodia to coincide with the visit currently being conducted by Sheikha Lubna to the Asian country.

The study revealed that the UAE’s non-oil exports to Cambodia have risen by 639 percent between 2010 to 2011, with total Emirati exports to the Asian country going up by 271 percent during which the UAE achieved a surplus in trade around USD 2.3 million in 2011, in comparison with a deficit the year before worth around 8.5 million, with total bilateral foreign trade between the two countries growing by 122 percent in 2011.

It also revealed that Cambodia advanced to the 99th position in the list of countries on the receiving end of UAE re-exports, from the 143rd position in 2010.