Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom, UAE keen to set up working group for FTA review

Kingdom, UAE keen to set up working group for FTA review

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, who is leading a delegation to the 2020 Dubai World Expo, meets with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed al-Zeyoudi on January 24 in Dubai. COMMERCE MINISTRY

Kingdom, UAE keen to set up working group for FTA review

Cambodia and the UAE have agreed to set up a working group to study the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to boost trade and investment.

The plan was revealed during a bilateral meeting between Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, who is leading a delegation to the 2020 Dubai World Expo, and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed al-Zeyoudi on January 24 in Dubai.

The meeting was to review preliminary analyses on the feasibility of an FTA and explore other avenues to create investment opportunities between the two countries, the commerce ministry said in a statement.

Sorasak invited the UAE business community to invest in Cambodia, identifying tourism and transport as sunrise industries with an enticing array of lucrative prospects.

On the tourism front, the Kingdom’s coastal areas, culture, and ancient temples – above all Angkor Wat – open up broad investment horizons, he said, while also directing attention to the need for a wide range of associated infrastructure such as airports, ports, roads and buildings.

The minister added that the Kingdom has abundant natural resources and thousands of agricultural products.

“Cambodia has signed bilateral FTA with China and South Korea and is in the process of negotiating similar deals with key partners, including Japan, India, Mongolia, Canada and the UK to diversify markets and boost exports, in line with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Rectangular Strategy Phase IV,” Sorasak said.

The minister also expressed a desire to set up a working group to study and examine the possibility of establishing an FTA between the two countries, in a bid to further enhance economic and trade cooperation.

Al-Zeyoudi “warmly welcomed” the Cambodian delegation and expressed his appreciation to Phnom Penh for its support and participation in the six-month Dubai World Expo 2020, according to the statement.

He asked the delegation to provide additional information on Cambodia’s investment potential and further look into the possibility of creating joint ventures down the road.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Pen Sovicheat told The Post on January 27 that the bulk of Cambodian exports to the UAE were agricultural goods such as grains, milled rice, fruits, meats, processed foods, and fragrant products such as scented candles as well as chips and oils of the Aquilaria crassna.

Other leading exports were decorative items, apparel, footwear, suitcases and travel goods, bags, and bicycles, he said.

Major imports from the UAE included lubricants, fuels, machinery, bitumen, paints, varnishes, glass adhesives, plastic roofing materials, primers, floor tiles, ceramics, bathroom accessories, kitchen appliances, furniture, lifts, sports and exercise equipment, and family cars, trucks and other vehicles as well as spare parts, he added.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and the UAE topped $151.547 million in 2021, up by more than 52.660 per cent from nearly $99.271 million a year earlier, according to a ministry report provided to The Post.

Of that, the Kingdom’s exports clocked in at nearly $52.116 million, increasing by almost 18.927 per cent from just about $43.822 million in 2020, and imports were to the tune of more than $99.431 million, rising by close to 79.321 per cent from nigh on $55.449 million, the data show.

Cambodia’s trade deficit with the UAE expanded by almost 306.951 per cent to more than $47.315 million in 2021, from nearly $11.627 million a year earlier, the figures indicate.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,