Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fourth round of South Korea FTA opens

Fourth round of South Korea FTA opens

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea came to $661.15 million in the first nine months of this year. Hong Menea

Fourth round of South Korea FTA opens

Cambodia and South Korea on November 18 kicked off the fourth round of negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to boost bilateral trade and investment once it enters into force.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay told The Post that the talks would conclude two days later on November 20.

“The ins and outs are not yet immediately clear as negotiations are ongoing, but both sides are bending over backwards to move forward as planned,” he said, stressing the fruitfulness of the first three rounds of talks.

The first round was held in July, the second was held from August 31 to September 2, and the third ended on October 8.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth early last month told a closed-door meeting that the two sides are determined to conclude FTA talks by the end of this year.

The latest round would focus on general rules, rules of country, customs clearance, market access, among other issues, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

A South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy official was quoted as saying: “A free trade deal with Cambodia would provide South Korean companies with a wider access to the rapidly growing Southeast Asian market.”

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Pen Sovicheat said the two sides continued to scrutinise over the more technical aspects of the agreement to ensure mutual benefits.

“Our hopes are high that the agreement will help iron out some of the challenges related to tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers [NTM],” he said.

According to him, the Kingdom expects the FTA to buoy exports of processed agricultural products, live animals, textiles, garments and miscellaneous components to the South Korean market.

“We look forward to enjoying accelerated trade flows and improved market conditions following the conclusion of negotiations,” said Sovicheat.

Exports to South Korea mostly comprise of clothes, footwear, travel goods, beverages, components for electronic equipment, rubber, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, according to data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (Kita).

Meanwhile, the data show, the Kingdom mainly imports vehicles, electronics, kitchen appliances, beverages, pharmaceuticals and plastic products.

Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea began in January after Korean authorities approved shipments of the fruit.

But Mao Sothea, a sales manager at Kirirom Food Product Co Ltd, a mango processor and exporter, told The Post that the Covid-19 economic shutdown has hurt her company’s dried-mango exports.

She said her company exported about 2,000 tonnes of dried mango to international markets in the first nine months of this year, of which South Korean-bound shipments took a 50 per cent year-on-year plunge.

Still, she voiced her optimism that the FTA will open the door for Cambodian products to flow into the Korean market and breed new opportunities for investors from both countries to find trade partners.

“Considering the plethora of potential products at our disposal such as fresh and dehydrated mangoes, cashew nuts and pepper, I believe that the FTA will help perk up Cambodia’s export figures once we’ve clinched the megadeal,” Sothea said.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea came to $661.15 million in the first nine months of this year, down 15 per cent from year-ago period, data from Kita showed.

The Kingdom exported more than $246.20 million worth of goods to South Korea, down 4.9 per cent year-on-year, and imported $414.95 million, down 20 per cent year-on-year, its tabulations show.


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry using ChatGPT AI to ‘ease workload’; Khmer version planned

    The Digital Government Committee is planning to make a Khmer language version of popular artificial intelligence (AI) technology ChatGPT available to the public in the near future, following extensive testing. On March 9, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications revealed that it has been using the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • PM urges end to ‘baseless’ international Ream base accusations

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urges an end to “baseless” foreign accusations surrounding the development of the Kingdom’s Ream Naval Base, as the US has consistently suggested that the base is being expanded to accommodate a Chinese military presence. Hun Sen renewed his calls while

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to