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CAM-UAE CEPA all set to be finalised in Dubai

Khmer Times | 6 February 2023

CAM-UAE CEPA all set to be finalised in Dubai

by Kang Sothear

The inter-ministerial negotiation teams for the Cambodia-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CAM-UAE CEPA) are expected to finalise the free trade pact during the third round of the bilateral negotiation to be held this month in Dubai, said a release by the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).

The high expectation was expressed based on the progress that has been achieved by 11 working groups from different ministries through negotiation between the two counterparts of CAM-UAE CEPA since the second round that took place on December 19-21 last year in Cambodia, according to the MoC release issued on last Friday.

The release indicated that the chief of each inter-ministerial working group presented their respective progress of the preparation of each clause chapter of the agreement during their meeting chaired by the Secretary of State of MoC Tekreth Kamrang at the ministry. The meeting was held to prepare Cambodia’s readiness for the third round of the negotiation.

“Based on the progress that has been achieved since the second round until the present time, the meeting has been optimistic that the negotiation on the text of the agreement would be able to be completely finalised in the upcoming third round, while the negotiation on opening market gateways for commodity and service trading can be finalised during the inter-meeting,” the release pointed out.

The progress would enable all working groups to attend the third round of negotiation to be held for three days starting from February 20-22 in Dubai.

Clause chapters stipulate commodity trading, service trading, investment, electronic commerce, rules of commodity origins, trade facilitation, technical barriers of trading, hygiene, phytosanitary, intellectual property rights, trade remedy, economic cooperation, technical cooperation, small and medium enterprises, laws and institutions.

Kamrang, who is also the chief of the negotiation team, expressed her appreciation for the progress and urged those officials to prepare for the upcoming round of negotiation with the team of UAE for both countries to reach CAM-UAE CEPA soon, which would provide benefits to the country and its people such as consumers, producers, businesspeople and investors.

Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates completed the first round of the negotiations on the Cambodia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CAM-UAE CEPA) in Abu Dhabi City during a meeting co-chaired by Kamrang and Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary Foreign Trade Affairs of UAE from October 24-26 last year.

“The agreement is expected to strengthen bilateral relations between both sides through opening market channels more widely and provide more opportunities for investment for mutual benefits and deepening cooperation in other economic activities,” said Kamrang. Al Kait said both counterparts are serious about reaching an agreement.

A Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation led by its president Kith Meng was also in Abu Dhabi to attend the ceremony, the Kingdom’s apex trade body said in a statement. Meng urged UAE investors to visit the Kingdom and explore the possibility of collaborating on projects.

“The country has achieved complete peace and pushed for deep reforms to improve the business environment and strengthen national competitiveness in world markets,” Meng said, adding that Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in the region and its economic growth for 2022 is projected at around five percent.

The government has launched a plan to revive the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and this will help the country to return to the annual growth of seven percent soon. Seang Thai, secretary of state of MoC, told Khmer Times recently that the CEPA is more comprehensive than free trade agreements (FTAs).

“The commerce ministry is the leading ministry in the negotiation and shall need an authorisation from the head of the government first,” he said, adding that if CEPA exists, an FTA is not required as it covers some sectors such as investment, services, trade facilitation, customs cooperation, competition, property rights, etc.

 source: Khmer Times