Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN free trade deal set to boost China ties

ASEAN free trade deal set to boost China ties

ASEAN free trade deal set to boost China ties

091117_07
Shanghai Construction Co continues work Saturday on a new bridge spanning the Tonle Sap river in Kandal province.

Chinese delegation says it will urge firms to raise trade and investment ties with Kingdom as ASEAN agreement kicks in

ACHINESE delegation said Monday it would urge firms in the region’s fastest-growing economy to increase Cambodian trade and investment with the introduction of the ASEAN-China free trade zone from January 1.

Talking Monday at a seminar in Phnom Penh on bilateral trade between the two countries, Yu Ping, vice chairman of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, who led the delegation, said there remained big business opportunities in the Kingdom particularly in energy, agriculture, tourism, telecommunications and garments.

“I believe that investment and trade between China and Cambodia will reach another level,” he said, citing the new free trade area and the Kingdom’s stable political situation.

Chinese investment in the Kingdom has dropped sharply this year as the economic crisis slowed construction projects, and firms from the world’s third-largest economy have sought much smaller developments.

In the first nine months of 2008, Chinese investment in Cambodia hit a record US$3.94 billion, Centre for the Development of Cambodia figures showed, compared with just $339 million during the same period this year.

China was the biggest foreign investor in the Kingdom last year, representing more than 40 percent of the total number of approved investments.
Sun Weiren, trade counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh, said Monday that over 200 companies from China had invested in Cambodia in 2008.

Cambodian government officials acknowledged Monday that Chinese trade and investment would be down this year due to the economic crisis.

Trade between the Kingdom and mainland China remains muted at just $794 million over the past two years, significantly lower than that with neighbours Thailand and Vietnam, which each traded more than $1 billion in goods with the Kingdom last year alone.

By contrast, trade between Cambodia and Hong Kong, a Chinese Special Administrative Region, reached nearly $500 million in the first nine months of 2008 alone.

Commerce Ministry reports showed Monday that Beijing permitted 418 categories of Cambodian goods to enter China duty free in the past year.
“China is Cambodia’s best partner in terms of trade and investment cooperation,” Pan Sorsak, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said Monday.

Kith Meng, CEO of Royal Group and chairman of Cambodia’s Chamber of Commerce, said at Monday’s forum that Cambodia remained a good bet for investment due to its rapid economic development.

“I believe that Chinese companies will convert their research on Cambodia into real business as they have been encouraged to do so by the Chinese government in the future,” he told delegates.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,