Khmer Times | 14 May 2021
Talks on possible free trade agreement with India start
by Chea Vanyuth
Cambodia and India have started talks on the possible establishment of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) as the two countries boost cooperation in all sectors, particularly trade.
Discussion of the potential pact was included during a virtual meeting held yesterday between Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Davyani Khobragade.
FTA discussions are currently in the draft formulation stage, Sorasak said.
“The two parties discussed progress on the possible establishment of a Cambodia-India free trade agreement in which the members of the working groups of the two countries cooperate in finalising a draft of an agreement for the trade negotiation committee,” according to the a statement released by the Ministry of Commerce
The statement added that during the meeting, the parties said they placed a high value on cooperation in all sectors, particularly in the boosting of trade and bilateral investment.
Both parties agree that boosting trade between the two countries is the main core of strengthening the nations’ bilateral relationships.
Trade between Cambodia and India was valued $190 million in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 25 percent.
Figures from 2020 recorded Cambodian exports of $61 million to India, a 5 percent decrease from 2019. Imports from India fell by 33 per cent in 2020 to $128 million.
The study of an FTA being established with India was mentioned by Sorasak in February following Cambodia and South Korea having announced the completion of their FTA negotiations.
Follwing that success, Cambodia has focussed attention on work towards FTAs with Japan, India and a number of other countries, Sorasak said.
This latest development is another step towards Cambodia’s goal for FTAs with countries including India that are among the biggest global markets, said Nguon Meng Tech, director-general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.
“We all know India has a huge population, meaning it is a big market, “ said Meng Tech. He added that an FTA with India will produce enhanced export prospects for products from Cambodia.
Cambodia’s succesful completion of FTA negotiations with South Korea is expected to result in the agreement being signed and coming into force later this year. The Kingdom’s FTA with China is already paying dividends in agricultural exports