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RCEP Certificate of Origin forms ready: senior commerce official

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) are expected to provide strong impetus to agricultural exports. Heng Chivoan

RCEP Certificate of Origin forms ready: senior commerce official

The Ministry of Commerce has prepared the Certificate of Origin (CO) forms for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trade pact that entered into force on January 1, on the same day as the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), according to spokesman Pen Sovicheat.

The ministry is ready to walk exporters and other businesses through the application process and associated online automated system, Sovicheat told The Post on January 2.

No applications have been received during the international New Year’s weekend, but the ministry expects the private sector to fully capitalise on the duty-free entry, reduced tariff rates and other benefits provided by the two trade deals, he said.

He underscored that the RCEP would significantly buoy agricultural exports to China and the 13 other signatories, and that the CCFTA would particularly underpin trade in agricultural and industrial goods.

He said the deals would “enable us to further boost trade while Cambodia is living with Covid-19 in the ‘new normal’”.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng stressed that the more free trade agreements (FTA) the Kingdom enters into, the better.

FTAs are stepping stones to boost the growth of the Cambodian economy, and Cambodian investors must maximise the uptake of these agreements, he opined.

“Agricultural goods are important and necessary commodities on which we enjoy preferential tariffs in the RCEP agreement, and the CCFTA will greatly benefit Cambodia, especially in agricultural exports to [China], the world’s largest market,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath noted that the RCEP would allow greater market access for a wide spectrum of Cambodian goods to the nine other ASEAN countries – Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

But he highlighted that the Kingdom must strive to meet the respective sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.

The RCEP is an ASEAN initiative and has been under negotiation since 2012, and will boost Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) an additional two per cent, increase exports by an extra 7.3 per cent and raise investment by an added 23.4 per cent.

The CCFTA is reported to eliminate tariffs on at least 340 items or 98 per cent of Cambodian exports to China – including peppercorn, dried chillies, cashew nuts, garlic, honey, vegetables, meats, fish and seafood products such as crabs and molluscs – and 90 per cent of Chinese shipments into the Kingdom.

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