PHNOM PENH, July 8 -- Cambodia's rice exports to the European Union fell sharply in the first half of the year following the imposition of tariffs, official data showed on Monday, but the loss was offset by increased sales to China.
The EU in January imposed tariffs for three years on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar, aiming to protect EU producers such as Italy following a surge in imports from the two Asian countries. For the first six months, rice exports to the EU fell 32% from the same period last year to 93,503 tonnes, according to data from the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality, a joint private-government working group. However, rice exports to China rose 66% over the same period to 118,401 tonnes, while total rice exports rose 3.7% to 281,538 tonnes, with Australia emerging as a new market.
Kann Kunthy, vice president, of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, which exports the grain to foreign countries, said that the EU tariffs meant Cambodian long grain white rice was no longer competitive.
"Exports to the EU have declined after the safeguard measure so China and other new markets, especially Australia, are picking up," Kunthy told Reuters. "Losing a market is never good, but the good thing is that we find other markets," he added. Kunthy said Amru had concluded a deal with an Australian rice importer and anticipated annual exports of about 20,000 tonnes. Sales to Australia reached 8,035 tonnes in the first half of this year. Under a trade programme known as Everything But Arms (EBA), all Cambodian exports to the EU are duty free except arms. The block accounts for more than a third of Cambodia's exports, including garments, footwear and bicycles.
However, in February the EU started an 18-month process that could lead to a suspension of Cambodia's EBA status over its record on human rights and democracy. In April, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said China will help Cambodia if the EU withdraws the EBA. China had also agreed to import 400,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice, according to Hun Sen's Facebook page.
Author: Pete McGee
SAPPORO, June 7 -- Japan will restart commercial whaling on July 1 in Kushiro, Hokkaido, after the government announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission in December, a local fishery source said Friday.
Japan halted commercial whaling in line with a moratorium adopted in 1982 by the IWC. Since 1987 it has hunted whales for what it claims is research, a practice criticized internationally as a cover for commercial whaling. Following the withdrawal, Japan will hunt whales in nearby waters and within its exclusive economic zone but not in the Antarctic Ocean, where the country has carried out so-called "scientific whaling" for what it says are research purposes.
SHANGHAI, May 27 -- China’s middle class, particularly better-educated white collar workers, are growing increasingly confused and anxious over how the trade war with the United States will affect the lives of ordinary citizens.
In contrast to official press and social media which have been dominated by messages urging the country to stand strong in face of the adversity. Concerns about the impact of the trade war, combined with rising food prices, are already affecting consumers’ willingness to spend, which could cause a further deceleration in Chinese economic growth. These concerns may also increase efforts by the upper and upper middle classes to safeguard their wealth by buying gold or foreign currency and moving their wealth abroad. For China’s urban middle class, who have benefited from the country’s economic boom in the last few decades and may have taken it for granted that life would be better, the intensified rivalry between China and the US is bringing a strong sense of uncertainty about their future, pushing citizens to scramble for any information about the trade war away from the official propaganda rhetoric. “Please tell me the proper understanding of what the impact of the trade war will be on the lives of ordinary people like us. Thanks!” wrote Su Gengsheng, a popular online writer and blogger with more than 300,000 followers on China’s largest social media platform Weibo, four days after the US raised tariffs on US$200 million of Chinese imports.The post was unusual for Su’s extremely non-political account after she rose to popularity with cosmetics recommendations and make-up tips. However, the trade war question seemed to speak to the heart of the concerns shared by many of Su’s followers, and rapidly attracted thousands of replies and likes as well as more than 10,000 shares. Comments on the post were soon blocked because they “violated relevant laws and regulations”, although the original post was still visible.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 18 -- A California cafe is brewing up what it calls the world's most expensive coffee — at $75 a cup.
Klatch Coffee is serving the exclusive brew, the Elida Natural Geisha 803, at its branches in Southern California and San Francisco. The 803 in the coffee's name refers to the record-breaking $803 per pound the beans sold for at a recent auction after winning the Best of Panama coffee competition, said Bo Thiara, co-owner of the Klatch branch in San Francisco. He calls the annual competition the coffee world's equivalent of the Oscars. Only 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of the beans were available for purchase, and most went to Japan, China and Taiwan, Thiara said. Klatch secured 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and is the only chain in North America to have it. The coffee's high quality and limited supply set off a bidding war that determined its astronomical price, topping last year's winning beans that sold for $601 per pound, Thiara said.
Klatch describes the coffee as a rare variety of Arabica from Panama that has a floral, tea-like flavor with hints of jasmine and berries. The 10 pounds of beans will produce about 80 cups of coffee, Thiara said. A few lucky coffee lovers got to try free samples Wednesday at the San Francisco branch, where promotional signs are on display advertising, "World's Most Expensive Coffee." One of them was San Francisco resident Lauren Svensson, who said it was "very different" from any coffee she'd ever tasted. "My mind was a little blown about the fact that a$75 cup of coffee even exists," she said, "but it was shockingly good." Her friend, Charlie Sinhaseni, also gave his free sample a positive review.
"When I first looked at it, I thought it would be hyper pretentious, and I would think of all the different notes for the coffee, but I was too busy enjoying it," he said.