Following recent talks between the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce and the European Commissioner for Trade in Belgium, the EU considered ASEAN, including Cambodia, to be key development partners. The EU has also pledged to provide both financial and technical assistance for development in key areas of Cambodia.
At the meeting, European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis noted that bilateral trade cooperation with Cambodia has improved, despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic.
He also acknowledged the difficulties that that Cambodia may face after it formally leaves the category of the least developed countries (LDC).
He stated that the EU will continue to implement mechanisms to support LDC category nations, including Cambodia, in the future. The EU has also pledged to continue to provide technical assistance and capacity building programmes to Cambodia as needed, so that Cambodia will develop a sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy.
In response Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak briefed him on the improving economic situation of Cambodia. The Kingdom has reopened socio-economic activities and put more resources into its economic recovery by implementing a strategic framework and programmes to restore and boost its economic growth under the ‘new normal’.
He also thanked the EU for its support and financial and technical assistance for development in key areas of Cambodia, including trade, agriculture, health, rural development and human resource development, all of which would move the Kingdom’s economy forward once it was no longer classified as an LDC.
The minister urged European businessmen and investors to choose ASEAN as a special investment destination, noting that Cambodia had great potential for investors.
Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomed the EU's recognition of the government's efforts, especially its support for both grant and technical assistance for the implementation of the public financial management reform programme.
In order to speed up the preparation of the outcome framework for the new grant agreement, he advised the technical working groups of the government and the EU to start working together as soon as possible.
The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia recently reported that Cambodia exported $204.57 million in commodities to major target markets, up 18.1 per cent and imported $27.747 million in commodities, an increase of 9.2 per cent.
“When we look at the volume of trade between Cambodia and the EU, in 2021, the volume reached $4.18 billion, of which Cambodia's exports amounted to $3.22 billion and imports amounted to $0.95 billion. When compared to 2020, this represents an increase of 8.43 per cent,” said a department report.
In addition to discussing the assistance, Cambodia and the EU committed to continued dialogues and the further strengthening of cooperation for the good of both parties, and the world alike.