Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - FTA with EAEU bloc may diversify export market

FTA with EAEU bloc may diversify export market

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom’s garment and footwear sectors would gain a new market if an FTA is signed, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo said on Thursday. POST PIX

FTA with EAEU bloc may diversify export market

As the government moves to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), garment and rice industry insiders expect the new trade corridor to diversify the Kingdom’s export market.

The Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday released a report on the results of its assessment of a potential FTA deal between Cambodia and the EAEU.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo told The Post on Thursday that the Kingdom’s garment and footwear sectors would gain a new market if an FTA is signed.

“We will have duty-free access to exports, but we don’t know when we’ll reach the FTA. That is all I can say,” he said.

Cambodia Rice Federation vice-president Chan Sokheang said the agreement will boost the competitiveness of the Kingdom’s export-rice processing industry among its neighbours.

“Our export market will grow further and will not rely on just the European and Chinese markets. We have to open up more markets.

“Today, our premium varieties of rice are in very fierce competition with those of our neighbouring countries. The agreement will allow us to boost our competitiveness,” he said.

Speaking at the report launch ceremony, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the benefits of the FTA noted in the study include industrial diversification and expansion of financial services, transport, digital economy and agricultural services.

“An FTA will enable the two parties to increase economic cooperation, trade in goods, services and investment.

“We expect to increase trade and investment opportunities and mutual investment. Cambodia can increase its garments and textiles exports, agricultural products and other goods,” he said.

The EAEU is an economic bloc covering Eastern Europe and comprises five countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The bloc has a combined population of 176 million and posted a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion in 2016, Sorasak said.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen discussed the agreement with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during the 14th East Asia Summit in Thailand.

Speaking at the Asean Business and Investment Summit last month, Medvedev said as the EAEU had signed an FTA deal with Vietnam in 2015 and with Singapore on October 1, it is currently in talks with “other partners in Asean” about possible FTAs as well, Singapore’s The Straits Times reported.

He also called for joint efforts with Asean to tackle monopolies by high-tech companies to allow a “healthy competition and the introduction of new promising ideas”, The Straits Times said.

Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Tek Reth Kamrong told reporters in March that the EAEU has provided tariff-free access for 46 Cambodian made products for three years due to the Kingdom’s Least Developed Countries (LDC) classification.

Though preferential status will last until Cambodia has graduated from its LDC rank, Reth Kamrong said the negotiation for an FTA deal with the bloc is a good initiative.

EAEU tariff preferences granted to Cambodian goods include rice, silk, textiles, meat, vegetables and coffee.

Garment, textile and footwear industry exports rose 13.18 per cent year-on-year during the first nine months of this year to more than $7.973 billion, data from the General Department of Customs and Excise shows.


  • 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