The Ministry of Commerce plans to expand its network of commerce centres in China to showcase Cambodia’s trade potential and lure new investors.
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Speaking at the Cambodia-China Business and Investment Promotion Forum in Beijing on Tuesday, Minister Pan Sorasak said the existing trade centres have successfully spur trade and investment between Cambodia and the world’s second-largest economy.
“The establishment of Cambodian trade centres in major cities in China – such as Guangzhou, Hainan, Xi’an, and Hong Kong – have been playing a critical role in promoting trade and investments, as well as cultural exchanges,” said Mr Sorasak at the forum, which was also attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen and a number of high-ranking Chinese officials, as well as business executives.
“Now, we plan to set up more centres in Beijing, Kunming, and other cities in order to build more engagement and take advantage of opportunities available in the Chinese market,” he added.
Trade between Cambodia and China reached $5.6 billion last year, a 12 percent increase from 2017’s $5 billion.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to boost two-way trade to $10 billion by 2023.
That same day, Mr Hun Sen suggested to Mr Xi the possibility of entering a free trade agreement with Cambodia.
Kao Kim Hourn, delegate minister attached to the prime minister, told reporters after returning from Beijing that the Chinese government agreed to study the possibility of entering an FTA with Cambodia.
“The Chinese government agreed to set up a mechanism to work on an FTA with Cambodia,” he said.
“We already enjoy an Asean-China FTA, but our prime minister wants a one-on-one trade agreement with China.
“Given our special relationship with China, we hope we can continue to expand our agricultural exports to the Chinese market,” he added.
According to Mr Kim Hourn, Prime Minister Hun Sen also suggested that the Bank of China helps finance agro-processing facilities in Cambodia.
On Monday, the Chinese government also agreed to increase its quota of Cambodian rice imports by 100,000 tonnes.