Cambodia makes progress on FTAs with China, S Korea

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South Korea’s ministry of trade, industry and energy recently said it has made further progress on the planned free trade agreement (FTA) with Cambodia. The third round of negotiations on the Cambodia-China FTA, expected to be finalised by 2020 end, recently approved in principle market access of goods and services, the Cambodian commerce ministry said.

South Korea and Cambodia completed a joint feasibility study on the FTA last month and agreed to start domestic procedures to pave the way for official talks, the South Korean ministry was quoted as saying by media reports in the country.

The Cambodian commerce ministry has set up eight different groups to be in charge of the trade negotiations with each potential partner. Even though the trade deal is yet to be been signed, the ministry has already enabled the export of some goods to the South Korean market through the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Two-way trade between Cambodia and South Korea was valued at $1 billion in 2019, representing a 36 per cent rise from $756 million in 2018, up 15 per cent compared with 2017.

The Cambodia-China FTA is expected to boost the Cambodia’s export volume and also draw more investment in raw material supplies and diversify the industrial sector, according to analysts.

The FTA is expected to boost bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2023. Bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $7.4 billion in 2018, a 22 per cent increase compared to 2017’s $6.04 billion.