Khmer Times - 25 January 2023
Cambodia looks at FTA possibility with Switzerland
By Adur Pradeep
Cambodia, which successfully entered into several free trade agreements (FTA) last year, is looking at the prospect of having a similar partnership with Switzerland.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak explored the possibilities of an FTA during his recent meeting with Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Helene Budliger Artieda.
The meeting at Davos, which hosts the World Economic Forum, also discussed measures to enhance the economic cooperation between both countries, the ministry said in a statement.
During the meeting, Sorasak said both countries have good relations and highlighted the diplomatic ties, which were established in 1963.
He pointed out that the trade between Cambodia and Switzerland has been steadily increasing every year. The bilateral total trade volume reached $379 million in 2020 and it was more than $974 million in 2021.
Sorasak also discussed the possibility of establishing a free trade agreement to further enhance the trade cooperation between the
He thanked the Swiss government for its assistance and development programs in areas such as good governance and people’s participation in agriculture and food security, vocational training and employment.
Artieda welcomed the initiative, saying that the Swiss government has been supporting Cambodia in its transition and economic development efforts.
She praised Cambodia’s success in curbing the spread of Covid-19 and congratulated Cambodia on its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022 and its successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit.
The two sides also pledged to further strengthen existing bilateral ties and expand cooperation in priority areas as well as international cooperation.
Cambodia looked to boost its prospects in international trade by entering into free trade agreements with several countries. It joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including 10 ASEAN member states — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Besides, the country signed FTAs with China and South Korea last year.
The Kingdom has also been talking with the United Arab Emirates to form a Cambodia-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CAM-UAE CEPA). The third round of talks is scheduled to be held this year.
The country has also been looking at the prospects of entering into similar agreements with Japan and Bangladesh.
Cambodia’s trade value with RCEP countries rose 4 percent to $31.03 billion in 2022, as compared to the previous year, according to a recent report from the ministry.
The CCFTA and RCEP have provided more momentum to bilateral trade between Cambodia and China, according to experts.
The bilateral trade volume reached $14.5 billion from January to November 2022, a year-on-year increase of 19.1 percent, the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia said in a release.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that Cambodia exported $4,703 million worth of goods to the RCEP member countries in the first nine months of last year, an increase of 6 percent when compared with the same period in the previous year.
The Kingdom imported $19,363 million worth of merchandise from RCEP countries, a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, it added.