Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Joint trade commission to foster links with Bangladesh

Joint trade commission to foster links with Bangladesh

The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh, as seen last year.
The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh, as seen last year. Vireak Mai

Joint trade commission to foster links with Bangladesh

Bangladesh is rushing to push forward a draft proposal to form a joint trade commission with Cambodia that is expected to be signed this year, an official from Cambodia’s Commerce Ministry said yesterday.

Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said that Bangladesh was close to settling its terms for a trade commission and that this would eventually lead to a bilateral trade agreement that would drop tariffs on potential imports. She added that the Commerce Ministry had already agreed in principal on a commission framework and was just awaiting official approval from its Bangladeshi counterparts.

“We have agreed on which products and items that Cambodia will allow Bangladesh to import and export tariff free and that will be revealed when we officially sign the agreement,” she said. “Both countries are dependent on the garment industry as the main driver of economic growth, so we are looking at ways that trade can complement each other’s growth.”

Sophary’s comments come just weeks after a new push to revive bilateral trade initiatives, with Phnom Penh hosting its first-ever conference that welcomed a delegation of leading Bangladeshi companies.

Trade between the two developing nations has been minimal, amounting to just $6.7 million annually, according to official data released by Bangladeshi Ambassador Saida Muna Tasneem last month.

Bangladesh’s main exports to Cambodia include garments, footwear and leather goods while Cambodia primarily exports cotton, cooking oil and fertiliser.

Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said that a bilateral trade deal could lead to further garment production despite the countries competing for the same global market. He added that if Cambodia could receive tariff-free leather, it would help bolster the Kingdom’s travel goods sector, which last July received duty-free access to the United States.

In addition, Sou Ieng said that the countries should work to create a labour-sharing agreement that would allow Bangladeshi workers to migrate to Cambodia to fill the garment sector’s skills gap as it produces higher value-added goods.

“Having workers come from Bangladesh to Cambodia would be good for Cambodia because it would support future growth in manufacturing capabilities,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.