Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak has requested that Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno examine the possibility of conducting a study of a potential Cambodia-Japan free trade agreement.

The request came as he attended the June 9 opening ceremony of the “Trade Facilitation and Digital Trade between Cambodia and Japan” workshop at the Cambodian-Japan Cooperation Centre.

He requested that Japan consider the possibility of encouraging well-known Japanese companies like Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric and Yamaha Corporation to invest and establish factories in the Kingdom.

“Cambodia and Japan should continue to work closely to ensure the full implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP), and encourage the two countries' chambers of commerce to consider the possibility of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster economic, trade and investment cooperation.

“We should also collaborate to assist small and medium enterprises in building capacity and access to finance in the form of investment,” he said.

He added that Cambodia expressed its deep gratitude to the Japanese people and government for their support of the Cambodian government in driving the development of trade, especially though trade facilitation and digital trade, for the 70 years that the two nations have maintained diplomatic relations.

He continued that thanks to government efforts, Cambodia's economy grew by around five per cent in 2022. The economy was projected to grow by around six per cent in 2023 and seven percent in 2024, moving Cambodia towards a “low-middle income country” by 2030, and a “high-middle income country” by 2050.

“We have also facilitated trade through digital commerce, launching an automated business registration website on the Ministry of Commerce's website or through CamDX – a joint automated business registration system set up the Ministry of Economy and Finance,” he said.

“Another important automation system is the Certificate of Origin Automation, which allowed exporters and manufacturers to create, transmit and pay electronically for certificates of origin,” he added.

He also described how the ministry spearheaded the creation of a joint strategy, called the Cambodia Trade Integration Strategy (CTIS) 2019-2023, which highlighted competition, export diversification and new sources of economic growth. In addition, the ministry has created an e-commerce strategy to create a harmonious and integrated e-commerce ecosystem that will allow the private sector to use digital technology to promote domestic and cross-border trade.