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Cambodia mulls bilateral trade, investment accord with India

Khmer Times | 22 April 2022

Cambodia mulls bilateral trade, investment accord with India

by Chea Vanyuth

The Ministry of Commerce is mulling boosting bilateral trade and investment with India in years to come through bilateral trade deals. The ministry’s undersecretary of state Penn Sovicheat said yesterday that India is one of the big markets for Cambodia’s products and attracting investment.

The two countries are in the stage of finalising studies by each working group on the possibility of negotiating the establishment of a free trade agreement, he said.

Cambodia is looking to establish a bilateral trade pact between the two nations to escalate trade and investment cooperation, he said. “Getting India market is to diversify the market, over the existing FTA markets that we have with China, Korea and RCEP,” he said.

In January-November last year, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $274.2 million, up by 57.2 percent year-on-year from $174.3 million.

Cambodian exports to India were valued at $113.8 million in the first 11 months of 2021, a 99 percent year-on-year surge from $57 million.

“Although at low, the bilateral trade has increased steadily yearly. Meaning that our relations become closer in both trade and economic cooperation,” Sovicheat said.

A high-level delegation of the Lower House of Parliament of the Republic of India led by Speaker of Lok Sabha Om Birla is in Cambodia on a four-day official and friendly visit starting from April 21.

The visit aims to cheer the 70th anniversary of Cambodia-India diplomatic relations as well as to further strengthen the ties of friendship and good cooperation between the two countries’ legislative and executive bodies.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, echoed the remarks. “There is still a small scale of trade volume. But I hope in the official visit of the high-ranking Indian officials, Cambodia can show the potential in economic and investment, particularly to India investors and businessmen in Cambodia are confident,” Heng said.

Speaking highly on the to-be-made bilateral free trade agreement, Heng said it will boost bilateral trade, and investment and Cambodia will have a new big market with a huge population and big economic country.

The Ministry of Tourism early April proposed to the Indian government for direct flights between both countries to boost tourism, as it and the Indian Embassy to Cambodia signed Memorandums of Understanding at the Ministry of Tourism.

Thong Khun also urged the Indian government to speed up arrangements for weekly direct flights from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap to India.

 source: Khmer Times