RCEP, Cambodia-China FTA significantly contribute to boosting Cambodia’s economy: official

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), which both took effect earlier this year, have significantly contributed to boosting Cambodia’s economic recovery, a senior official has said.

Bun Chanthy, undersecretary of state at Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce (MoC), made the remarks on Monday during a meeting in Phnom Penh with Zhang Lubiao, director-general of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, according to an MoC’s news release on Tuesday.

Chanthy said the two free trade agreements have given larger market access to Cambodia’s products, particularly agricultural ones such as rice, bananas, mangoes, cassava, cashew nuts, and corn, among others.

He said both trade pacts “have importantly contributed to trade facilitation, business and investment promotion, people’s livelihood improvement and economic development.”

According to an MoC report, Cambodia’s total export to RCEP members was valued at 3.28 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2022, up 10 percent from 2.99 billion dollars in the same period last year.

During the January-June period this year, Cambodia’s top three export destinations are Vietnam, China and Japan, the report said, adding that the Southeast Asian nation shipped products worth 1.17 billion dollars to Vietnam, 612 million dollars to China and 542 million dollars to Japan.

According to the news release, Chanthy and Zhang discussed the current situation of trade in agricultural products between Cambodia and China.

Zhang was in Cambodia to discuss with Cambodian officials opportunities and challenges for the development of Cambodia’s agriculture.

On Aug. 18, the Chinese official met with Veng Sakhon, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and both sides agreed to set up a working group to draw up an agricultural modernization plan for Cambodia.