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Monday, May 18, 2009

Israel announced the nomination of its first economic attaché to Cambodia

The economic mission in Phnom Penh will function under the charge of the Israeli economic attaché in Thailand

Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor announced last week the opening of Israel's first economic mission in Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh.

The Government announcement noted that the economic mission in Phnom Penh will function under the charge of the Israeli economic attaché in Thailand, Tzahi Selzer. During March a first Israeli delegation of telecommunications companies visited the Southeastern Asian country. Some 15 companies took part in the delegation, including such high profile names as ECI, Gilat and Comverse, whose representatives met with top local Government officials.

The visit was part of an Israeli effort announced last year to expand economic and political ties with Cambodia. According to Selzer, Cambodia is mainly interested in Israeli companies involved in irrigation technologies, agriculture, infrastructure and medical devices.

Israel was ranked the fourth-largest foreign investor in Cambodia last year in terms of value of projects approved, with 2.75 percent of total investment, or 300 million U.S. dollars, according to Cambodian Investment Board figures.
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Flu fears, rains buoy Cambodia rat exports to Vietnam

By Ek Madra

CHREY THOM, Cambodia (Reuters Life!) - Stir-fried or grilled, Vietnamese can't seem to get enough of Cambodian rat meat, and the global influenza outbreak as well as recent heavy rains have proven a boon for both consumers and exporters.

In Chrey Thom, a Cambodian town on the border with Vietnam, motorbike after motorbike carries wooden cages full of hundreds of the plump, furry, brown rats.

The rains in the Mekong Delta area have helped boost the Cambodian trappers' catch, as more rats rush out from their flooded holes and into waiting cages.

"There were so many rodents we just can't eat them all, so we need to export lots more to Vietnam," Cambodian rat trader Kang Chanthan told Reuters. "It's good business."

"If you prepare them well and fry the meat with garlic and put some mint on it, they're tastier than chickens," he added.

Worries about swine flu, as the H1N1 influenza virus was first called, may have also spurred demand. The spread of H1N1 flu was not caused by pigs and pork, but many people and governments have reacted to the name.

"Rat meat substitutes well for pork these days," said Khe Le, adding that her family exported up to a tonne of live rats across the border on good days.

Rat meat was eaten in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s and for some time afterwards when little else was available. The poor took to rat meat last year when the price of other meat soared, but younger Cambodians tend to avoid it.

In Vietnam, rat meat is something of a delicacy.

Online Vietnamese newspaper, VietNamNet Bridge, said more than 35 tonnes of rat meat a day was imported from Cambodia.

Cambodian officials said they did not keep records of this aspect of bilateral trade but reckoned the figure was realistic.

"The high season for catching rats has returned for the farmers in my district, where I see several thousand kilos of live rats transported every day to Vietnam," said Ly Marong, an agriculture official in Koh Thom district on the border.

Live rats sold for $1 per kilo and dead ones -- used for feeding crocodiles in Vietnam -- went for $0.37, officials said.

"Some rats are as big as piglets, 2 kilos, and that has intrigued the Vietnamese. They see them as wild animals and they find them tasty," Marong said.

Bun Tuon Simona, a Cambodian official in the southern province of Kandal, said the Vietnamese appetite for rat meat has helped a government campaign to get rid of the rodents that were destroying rice fields.

"Before, we rewarded farmers with milled rice in exchange for a rat's tail after they killed one. Now it's not a problem. They catch the rat and can sell it to make some money on top of what they get from farming," he said.

Cambodian farmer Chan Pakdeiratha, whose family has rather taken to the meat, said the rats gave birth three times a month and had about 15 babies each time.

"If we don't catch them this year, they'll destroy our crops next harvest," he said.

(Additional reporting by Lach Chantha and Chor Sokunthea)
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Cambodian youth to participate in 2009 China-ASEAN Youth Camp

PHNOM PENH, A Cambodian youth delegation will join the 2009 China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations) Youth Camp, to be held on May 19-26 in Nanning and Guangzhou, China, at the invitation of the Chinese Youth Federation, the official Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) reported on Monday.

The 10-member Cambodian delegation consists of two officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS), two young journalists, two young entrepreneurs, two best students and two artists.

The program aims at giving an opportunity to the China-ASEAN youth to exchange their knowledge and experiences and to discuss important topic related to impacts of the global economic crisis, youth challenges and government, civil and youth organizations' measures to support the youth, said a MEYS official.

The China-ASEAN youth delegation will also visit exhibition centers, museums, ports, industrial parks and economic development zones in China.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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