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Despite joining the ASEAN club relatively late in 1999, and then the World Trade Organization in 2004, Cambodia has made great strides since then in promoting trade with its neighbours and raising its economic growth rate, estimated to come in this year at a healthy 7.2 percent. However, over a quarter of the population remains below the poverty line, and Cambodia still has a long way to go to catch up with its main trading neighbours, Vietnam and Thailand. In order to accelerate the country’s economic leap forward, and reduce poverty levels, the Royal Government of Cambodia has decided on a major push for export growth, with ambitious targets for exporting Cambodia’s large rice surplus, and for becoming better integrated into value-added regional supply chains. These are excellent objectives that make good use of the country’s comparative advantages in labor costs and geographical location. However, a major constraint – weak logistics performance - must be urgently addressed if it is not to scupper these best of intentions.

About the Presenters

Julian Latimer Clark