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Trading places

A free trade agreement with India has been passed by Cambodia’s Council of Ministers and now awaits final approval from the National Assembly.

Ratification talks for the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement are set to take place later this month, according to Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly’s Banking and Finance Committee, after ministerial approval was granted on Friday.

“Cambodia will gain several advantages under the agreement. We will be able to export more agricultural products into India – one of the world’s largest markets – and receive investment flows in return,” he said.

The ASEAN-India FTA will see tariffs on more than 4,000 product lines be eliminated by 2016 at the earliest, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.

Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Kong Vibol said Cambodia had recently ratified several free trade pacts to open up markets.

India’s investment to date had largely targeted the Kingdom’s agricultural sector, including paddy harvests, rubber plantations and sugar projects.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay claimed it would be difficult to benefit from the pact, given strong regional competition.

The Indian Embassy declined to comment.

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