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Cambodia-Korea FTA to come into force from December 1

Khmer Times | 5 October 2022

Cambodia-Korea FTA to come into force from December 1

by Kang Sothear

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. The notification comes 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, said an official note obtained by Khmer Times yesterday.

The embassy pointed out that the CKFTA stipulates in Article 10.10 that the agreement shall enter into force 60 days after the official note dated October 2, 2022, was sent to the Cambodian government following the government of the Republic of Korea had completed its domestic procedures for the entry into force of the agreement.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Korea avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia the assurance of its highest consideration,” the note pointed out, adding, that the embassy has also notified the same to Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce.

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Phnom Penh also presented its compliments to MFAIC and referred to the ministry’s note dated February 9, 2022, that notified the completion of the internal procedures of the Cambodian side for the entry into force of the CKFTA, which was signed at Seoul and Phnom Penh on 26 October 2021.

Nguon Mengtech, Director General of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CBC), told Khmer Times yesterday that the private firms applauded the CKFTA as it would be another gateway for them to expand exporting their goods in addition to the current markets, but would raise complaints during the actual implementation of the new official bilateral trade deal.

Mengtech added that the private sector would use the public-private partnership to flag the issues that arise from the implementation of not only the free trade agreements but also other trade deals
and policies imposed by the government, which he says is a very effective mechanism for the private sector to solve business issues with policymakers.

“It is too early to predict what changes the agreement will bring about even before the FTA has come into force. Besides, the private sector has also even not started to do business. So, let’s see what changes take place when we implement the deal. If there are any problems that may affect our businesses, we would take them up to the government to address them,” he said.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea on September 27, 2022, gave its formal consent to CKFTA through its ratification to make Cambodia’s second bilateral trade agreement officially valid and effective for enforcement in a most likely 60-day period of time.

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.

Pen Sovicheat, Undersecretary of State of MoC, told Khmer Times that CKFTA will provide additional benefits from the trade between the two countries as the tariff lines, tariff rates and some conditions under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that also include the Republic of Korea are still limited, unlike CKFTA.

“So, CKFTA will fulfill the things we have received through RCEP and expand our markets in that country, which enables us to expect that the bilateral trade would be boosted further, but the rest percentage of tariff lines that we have not received yet refers to some goods that are still sensitive to the partner’s economy and so they cannot give us, while some goods require complete fulfilment of technical conditions,” Sovicheat said.

The spokesman said CKFTA will allow Cambodia to export peppers, bananas, cashew nuts, potatoes, pineapples, coffee, fruits, corns, 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