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Cambodia picks up pace on improving ASEAN-NZ-Oz FTA

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Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak. FRESH NEWS

Cambodia picks up pace on improving ASEAN-NZ-Oz FTA

Cambodia has been accelerating negotiations on remaining issues to revamp the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) to meet its 2022 year-end deadline.

The agreement, which has been in force for about a decade, is being upgraded to reflect several factors under current economic conditions including trade-in goods and non-tariff measures, rules of origin, and customs and trade facilitations.

It aims to take lessons from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to “improve and unlock the potential of AANZFTA”, according to an ASEAN official last year.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, who was in a virtual meeting with Phil Twyford, New Zealand Deputy Minister of Trade and Export on April 5, said the FTA is one of Cambodia’s 19 priority economic deliverables for 2022.

He said this comes under the fourth key strategic goal of ASEAN globalisation for growth and development.

The negotiations by Cambodia are being done as its role as the chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting this year.

In a tweet earlier, Twyford said it was “great to chat” with Sorasak, having discussed the strengthening of regional trade via AANZFTA and the RCEP.

He said the strengthening was “more important than ever” in driving member states and their partners’ post Covid-19 recovery plans.

Twyford also reaffirmed New Zealand’s continued support for Cambodia as the rotating chair of ASEAN in 2022 and pledged to continue working closely to build the ASEAN community and develop regional economies with inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience.

Both sides pledged to continue boosting bilateral trade and spurring investment in the sense to make efforts to recover in all areas after the Covid-19 crisis.

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