Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia-China FTA within reach

Cambodia-China FTA within reach

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The June 16 meeting will be attended by Cambodian members of the committee through video conference. The Chinese committee will be led by State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (far left). Hong Menea

Cambodia-China FTA within reach

The Cambodia-China Intergovernmental Coordination Committee will meet on June 16 to discuss the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries and generate ideas about how to restore the Cambodian economy once the Covid-19 pandemic has abated.

Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong announced the new agenda at an internal meeting on Monday with the committee at the Office of the Council of Ministers.

He said the June 16 meeting will be attended by Cambodian members of the committee through video conference. The Chinese committee will be led by State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.

Namhong said: “The meeting will discuss the past and future of Cambodia-China cooperation and how we will work together to restore Cambodia’s economy post-Covid-19.”

The Cambodia-China FTA is expected to be finalised this month.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak led a working group meeting in mid-May to prepare policies and strategies to negotiate the FTA.

He said bilateral agreements with partner countries are central to the ministry’s efforts to improve competitiveness and trade diversification and noted that FTAs are necessary to integrate the country into the regional and global economy.

“These deals are aimed at broadening and opening up access to markets for a wide range of exports,” said Sorasak.

Ministry spokesman Seang Thay told The Post on Tuesday that the inter-ministerial committee in charge of negotiations is working on finishing the FTA and that there will be an update after the June 16 meeting.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak said: “I think this debate will boost Cambodia’s economic growth if we can finalise this free trade agreement.”

Although Cambodia is a developing country, he said, it is capable of exporting agricultural products to the Chinese market, including milled rice, mangoes, pepper, rubber and cashew nuts.

Vanak said: “China sees Cambodia as a goods storage facility with exporting potential to ASEAN members. We have to select the essential products for the country’s needs.”

Cambodia’s total import and export volume was valued at $36.7 billion last year, data from the National Bank of Cambodia show.

Exports amounted to $14.53 billion and imports $22.19 billion, a year-on-year increase of 12.7 per cent and 18.6 per cent, respectively.

However, the Kingdom’s trade deficit with the rest of the world continued to widen last year, when it hit $7.66 billion, a 31.6 per cent increase compared to 2018.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro