With strong economic growth and a growing appetite for high-quality meat products, Cambodia shows increasing promise as a potential destination for U.S. pork and beef. USMEF recently showcased pork and beef products at the country’s largest food show, CAMFOOD ‘14, held earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Participation in the event was supported by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Pork Checkoff.
With a population of about 15 million, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. But its economy is expanding at a significant pace, with GDP growth expected to exceed 7 percent this year, and the Cambodian government is working to improve the business climate and attract foreign investors and tourists. Tourism is growing, with visits (through August) up 4.2 percent year-over-year to about 2.9 million. This growth is prompting large-scale commercial development, including shopping malls, supermarkets and concept restaurants.
CAMFOOD attracted about 15,000 visitors over three days, with food industry professionals from the host country as well as Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore attending. Nearly 300 exhibitors from 16 countries were on hand to showcase the latest in food and beverage concepts. Pork items available for sampling at the USMEF booth included spare ribs, baby back ribs, 10-rib pork racks, bratwursts and hot link sausages. Beef cuts included choice short ribs along with striploins, outside skirts, briskets, hanging tenders and heel muscle.
On the final day of CAMFOOD, special guests at the USMEF booth were Julie Chung, U.S. deputy chief of mission for Cambodia and David Meyer, economist at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.
“Cambodia is really an emerging market for U.S. protein products,” said USMEF-ASEAN Director Sabrina Yin. “Many importers and buyers in Cambodia have traditionally made purchases solely based on price point and the familiarity of the product. USMEF’s participation in an event like CAMFOOD provides an opportunity to educate importers and build awareness of the wide selection and outstanding quality of U.S. pork and beef currently available for this market.”
This year marks the first time the United States has reported pork exports to Cambodia, with shipments through August totaling 128 metric tons (mt) valued at about $500,000. Beef exports over the same period totaled 90 mt valued at just over $1 million.
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