The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Friday met with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) to discuss the impact of the new coronavirus on the Kingdom’s economy and promote trade and investment between the nations.

During the meeting, Yang Weiqun, deputy director-general of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, pointed out that Cambodian factories have been affected by the virus outbreak in China.

“Cambodia is facing a shortage of raw materials as factories in China close due to Covid-19. The country is also affected by the partial suspension of the Everything But Arms (EBA) deal with the European Union. The Chinese government is now looking for ways of helping Cambodia,” said Yang, adding that China is encouraging businesses to consider investments in the Kingdom.

Cambodian Investment Committee secretary-general Chea Vuthy asked the Chinese government to give the Kingdom preference once the supply of raw materials is restored.

“Cambodia would also like to ask China to speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries,” Vuthy said.

The first round of negotiations for a Cambodia-China FTA has recently concluded. According to a press release from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the countries aim to conclude the agreement by mid-2020 and sign it before the end of the year.

According to the statement, the FTA will give Cambodia more opportunities to export to the Chinese market, both in terms of volume and types of goods, through tax incentives. The agreement will facilitate trade by cutting red tape.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thai could not be reached for comment on Sunday, but last month told The Post that Cambodia will host a meeting between the two countries in April to continue negotiations.

“Cambodia will benefit a lot from this FTA. This agreement will boost exports to the Chinese market,” he told The Post.