Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom, South Korea to study FTA feasibility

Kingdom, South Korea to study FTA feasibility

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An arial view of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS). Cambodia and South Korea have signed a joint feasibility study agreement on a potential free trade agreement (FTA) aiming to expand bilateral investment volume between the two countries. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom, South Korea to study FTA feasibility

Cambodia and South Korea have signed a joint feasibility study agreement on a potential free trade agreement (FTA) aiming to expand bilateral investment volume between the two countries, the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

The agreement was signed by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and South Korean Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee during the two-day Asean-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, which kicked off on Monday in the South Korean port city of Busan.

“The Cambodia-Korea bilateral FTA is expected to not only strengthen relations and promote bilateral trade between the two countries, but it will also create further employment and investment opportunities, and promote service exports that will contribute more to economic growth and bring greater benefits to the people of both nations,” a press release said.

Last year, trade volume between the two counties grew noticeably to around $756 million, a 14.69 per cent increase compared to 2017, it added.

However, South Korea’s Business Post, the Korea JoongAng Daily and local Korean-language News Briefing Cambodia put the figure at $970 million, whereas Yonhap News Agency cited $660 million.

The ministry said Cambodia’s main exports to South Korea include T-shirts, men’s clothing, electronics, shoes, luggage, aluminium, beverages, medical supplies, tents and natural rubber.

Imports from South Korea include trucks, clothes, mineral water, quilts, electronics, bulldozers, sheep leather, dyed cloth and beauty products, it said.

Yoo told Yonhap News Agency on Monday that Seoul and Phnom Penh will carry out the joint study on the FTA for one year.

“The FTA will be crucial in helping Korean firms penetrate deeper into Southeast Asian nations with prominent growth potential,” she said.

The move comes with Cambodia poised to sign an FTA with Beijing in the coming months.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the Kingdom would greatly benefit from entering into an FTA with South Korea.

“The FTA will attract more foreign investors to Cambodia. I hope . . . investors will build agricultural processing factories for exports,” he said.

Earlier this month, Cambodia and China announced that they will sign an FTA next month that would enable Cambodia to send more agricultural products to the Asian giant.

Last week, Centre for Policy Studies director Chan Sophal said via Facebook that while free trade generally means no tariff barriers, countries can use non-tariff measures to protect local products.

The most plausible way is to use sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and sluggish administrative procedures to their advantage in issuing SPS certificates.

“These are reportedly obstacles for Cambodia in exporting agricultural commodities to China. I hope the new FTA with China will adequately deal with the issue,” Sophal said.


  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • 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.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia