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Free trade agreement with South Korea may be signed next month

Khmer Times - 03 September 2021

Free trade agreement with South Korea may be signed next month
By Michael Firn

A long-awaited trade deal with South Korea may be signed next month, according to the country’s ambassador to Cambodia.

Negotiations on the Cambodia-Korea free trade agreement (CKFTA) were wrapped up in February but the history is even longer.

Prime Minister Hun Sen raised the prospects of a deal during a state visit from South Korean President Moon Jae-in in March 2019. In November of the same year a joint feasibility study was launched.

Now it seems the pens are poised to ink the accord.

“I expect we will sign the agreement later this year around October. After that I expect we will have more trade between our countries,” said South Korean Ambassador Park Heung-kyeong at an event in Phnom Penh on Friday.

From January to June, two-way trade was valued at $451 million, a year-to-date increase of 6.7 percent, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association.

Cambodia exported $159 million of goods to South Korea, a contraction of 1.6 percent. South Korea’s exports to the Kingdom rose by 11.9 percent to $292 million.

Cambodian exports to South Korea include garments and textiles, footwear, travel bags, spare parts, electronic equipment, rubber and agricultural products. South Korea exports automobiles, electronics, appliances, beverages, pharmaceuticals and plastic products.

This is the second free trade deal that Cambodia has completed with a more economically developed country. The FTA with China, officially designated a developing country despite being the world’s second-biggest economy, was the first. Cambodia is classified as a lower middle-income country.

Cambodia’s Commerce Ministry says the FTA includes standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, along with trade remedies, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation. It also includes economic cooperation, transparency, dispute settlement, exceptions, institutional arrangements and final provisions.

 source: Khmer Times