Cambodia, China ink 18 economic development pacts

Ministers from different ministries on Wednesday signed 18 agreements, memorandums of understanding and other official documents with Chinese counterparts during a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.

The documents signed include two concessional loan agreements for the development of physical infrastructures such as bridge and roads, one cooperative agreement on science, technology and innovation, a memorandum of understanding on the cooperation agro-business and two protocols for exporting agricultural products from Cambodia to China.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth signed two US dollar concessional loan agreements with Wang Wentian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia for the construction of the Mekong-crossing bridge in Kratie province along with connecting roads and expansion of the 47-km National Road 7 Skun district to Kampong Cham city to four from two lanes.

Similarly Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries signed two protocols with Tang Renjian, Minister of General Administration of Customs of Chinese counterpart to set requirements of phytosanitary, inspection, isolation and sanitary to export pepper and natural products from Cambodia to China markets.

After the bilateral meeting between the two leaders and before the signing ceremony, Eang Sophalleth, Personal Assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, said that Samdech Hun Sen expressed profound gratitude to the Chinese premier and his delegates for paying official visit to Cambodia and attending the ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh.

“Samdech expressed deep appreciation for the additional assistance and he indicated that the assistance would help our country to have more developments… to re-open the country and re-open the economy,” said Sophalleth, who is also the secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment.

Chinese premier Keqiang said China will continue to provide assistance to Cambodia including $27.85 million for the improvement of Cambodian people’s standard of living. Additionally, China will also help in construction of a bridge across Mekong River, and railways that would connect Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and China.

China will “help develop the agriculture sector to get high quality of agricultural products for exporting to markets,” said the Chinese premier, emphasising that the relations between Cambodia and China are deep in all sectors and expressing his appreciation for the Southeast nation’s fast development.

Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, signed another memorandum of understanding with Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and China International Trade Representative on the cooperation on the agro-business. Wang also signed a letter of hand-over of the project for preparation of Cambodia’s transportation system master plan with Pornmoniroth.

Likewise, Cham Prasidh, Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, signed an agreement on the collaboration on science, technology and innovation with Wang Wentian, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia. Ouk Rabun, Minister of Rural Development, signed the certificate on hand-over of the project for rural roads phase II under grants from China with Wang Shouwen.

“Bilateral cooperation and relations have been strengthened during this visit, especially on expanding trade, enhancing economy, increasing investment and developing other sectors,” read a release. Mr Hun Sen arranged a dinner for the Chinese delegation at the Peace Palace.