Minister of Information Neth Pheaktra has urged merchants and investors alike to study the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) thoroughly, noting that it should enable businesses to develop themselves and increase competition.

The RCEP is a multilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 members of the ASEAN bloc and Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. It became effective on January 1, 2022, as Cambodia assumed the ASEAN chairmanship.

Pheaktra delivered a September 13 lecture addressing the RCEP and its role in shaping the political and economic landscape.

“The RCEP is very important to Cambodia. It’s essential that the general public, including local and international merchants and investors, develop strategies that will capitalise on this agreement. Journalists have an essential role in sharing this knowledge,” he said.

He added that harnessing the potential of the RCEP in the post-Covid-19 recovery phase will be vital to accelerate industrialisation, digitalisation and smart production.

Pheaktra highlighted how the agreement has enhanced and fortified the nation’s domestic industrial and technological capabilities, enabling it to integrate into regional production chains, with the aim of elevating Cambodia to upper-middle-income status by 2030 and ultimately high-income one by 2050.

He explained that the successful implementation of the RCEP serves as a clear endorsement of multilateralism. It also showcases the Asia-Pacific region’s dedication to participating in and advocating for free trade while fostering close communication to drive global economic recovery post-pandemic.

“A clear understanding of the agreement will enable domestic investors and companies to align themselves with global trends, thus enhancing their competitiveness,” he added.

The minister said he firmly believed that journalists will play a pivotal role in disseminating information about the RCEP, with a particular focus on foreign investors and businesspeople looking to engage in Cambodia.

Sok Siphana, senior minister in charge of special missions, said during the lecture that he expected the RCEP to provide economic growth to Cambodia over the next 10 years.

“In my opinion, our economy has a chance over the next 10 years to really capitalise on the agreement,” he stated.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the RCEP covers more than 2 billion people and roughly $26.2 trillion, or 30 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).