Cambodia-China trade continues to grow despite global demand slowdown

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia-China trade continued to rise in 2023 despite a slowdown in global demand, thanks to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), a commerce official and experts said on Wednesday.

Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's Secretary of State and Spokesperson Penn Sovicheat said the RCEP and the CCFTA, both of which took effect in 2022, had provided strong momentum into this growth.

“Under the two agreements, our products, especially high-quality agricultural produce such as , yellow bananas, mangoes, longans, cassava, and pepper, have been exported to China with preferential tariffs,” he told Xinhua.

“The two trade pacts have become catalysts for Cambodia's long-term trade growth and a magnet to attract more foreign direct investment to our country,” he added.

Sovicheat also attributed the growth to excellent ties and close cooperation between the two countries as well as promotional trade events such as expos and business forums.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, a think-tank under the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the trade growth showed robust economic ties between Cambodia and China amid a fall in global demand.

“The growth in a time of global difficulties truly reflects the resilience of trade relations between the two countries,” he told Xinhua.

“This growing trade volume has provided greater benefits to the two countries and peoples, injecting more impetus into building a Cambodia-China community with a shared future in the new era,” he added.

Senior economist Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Cambodia-China relations were elevated to the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in 2010 and then evolved into the ironclad friendship and the Diamond Hexagon cooperation.

He said Chinese aid and investment have played a crucial role in supporting Cambodia's socio-economic development and generating hundreds of thousands of jobs for local people.

“Many Chinese mega-investment projects under the Initiative (BRI), such as expressways, logistics facilities, ports, airports, hydropower plants and special economic zones, have created favorable conditions for Cambodia to boost its trade exchanges with China and the rest of the world,” he told Xinhua.

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