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Cambodia,​ Emirates to hold talks ahead of CEPA

Khmer Times - 10 October 2022

Cambodia,​ Emirates to hold talks ahead of CEPA
By Kang Sothear

Cambodian Minister of Commerce and United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Trade plan to hold a meeting in Abu Dhabi City at the end of this month to launch negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).

Seang Thai, secretary of state of MoC, told Khmer Times recently that the CEPA is more comprehensive than free trade agreements (FTAs) as it covers some sectors such as investment, services, trade facilitation, customs cooperation, competition, property rights, etc. “The commerce ministry as the leading ministry in the negotiation shall need an authorisation from the head of the government first,” he said, adding that if CEPA exists, an FTA is not required.

Tekreth Kamrang, who is another Secretary of State of MoC, chaired an inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday last week to prepare readiness for participating in the launch and kick-off the negotiation on CEPA between Cambodia and United Arab Emirates.

About 65 officials from different ministries and institutions attended the meeting.

“The agreement is to expand and enhance bilateral cooperation on all sectors, especially investment, trade, digitalisation and other key sectors,” Kamrang said, referring to the additional benefits and potentials of the existing cooperation between the two countries on economy, trade and investment.

She also encouraged officials at different ministries and institutions to conduct further research for more details regarding the economic opportunities, challenges and strategies to absorb the maximum economic and trading benefits from CEPA between the two countries in addition to the preparation of a plan for the negotiation, according to the release.

“Officials in the meeting expressed their optimism on the economic benefits that will be able to be taken from the creation and launch of the negotiation for the agreement between the two countries as it aims at market diversification, new trade opportunity creation and foreign direct investment attraction to boost inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” the release pointed out.

Cambodia already enjoys special trading benefits with the other 14 countries under the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN)-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). RCEP include 10 member states of ASEAN, while the rest are trade partners that include Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea confirmed on Sunday that the Cambodia-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) will enter into force on December 1, 2022, after the embassy issued a notification to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) of the Kingdom of Cambodia on October 2, 2022.

Under CKFTA, Cambodia is expected to receive over 95 percent of the total tariff lines from the Republic of Korea to export 92 percent of all of its goods to the latter at zero percent of customs duty immediately after the agreement is entered into. CKFTA will allow Cambodia to export peppers, bananas, cashew nuts, potatoes, pineapples, coffee, fruits, corn, longans, tobaccos, meats, aquaculture products, sugar, rubbers, apparel, textiles, footwear, bicycles, travel materials, bags, accessories, industrial goods and more, while the Republic of Korea will be allowed to export electronic devices, automobiles, construction machinery, agriculture machinery, cloth raw material, processed cloth, cosmetics, food, groceries, construction materials and spare parts and more.

CKFTA is expected to foster Cambodia’s exports to the Republic of Korea such as garments, textiles, foot wears, bags, accessories, electronic devices, rubbers and agricultural products, according to the statement, adding that CKFTA is the second bilateral free trade agreement for Cambodia following the bilateral free trade agreement between the Kingdom and China that was enforced in January this year.

 source: Khmer Times