Cambodia discusses bilateral trade relations at RCEP meeting

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Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s Trade Minister, and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Supplied

During the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting, held during the weekend in Siem Reap, Cambodia held bilateral talks with delegates from Singapore, China, and Australia.

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During a meeting with Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s Trade Minister, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the ministries of commerce of both countries have been cooperating to implement the double tax avoidance agreement (DTA) signed in 2017.

According to a press release issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, Prime Minister Hun Sen asked the Singaporean side to consider encouraging Singaporean businesses to invest in Cambodia’s agriculture sector now that the governments have smoothed out investment procedures by signing the DTA.

Mr Chun Sing stressed that expanding trade between the nations required better physical infrastructure and more advanced digital systems.

“Having an efficient digital system to manage customs is very important but we also need better infrastructure to improve the transport of goods by land, air, and water,” he said.

At the sidelines of the same event, Pan Sorasak, the Cambodian Minister of Commerce, held bilateral meetings with Li Chenggang, China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce, and the Australian delegation, led by Mark Coulton, Assistant Minister for Trade, Investment, and Tourism.

During the meeting with the Chinese delegation, Mr Sorasak and Mr Li agreed to continue working towards a bilateral free trade agreement.

Mr Sorasak asked China for technical assistance to help Cambodian producers and exporters fill the quota that China has in place for Cambodian rice imports, which was recently increased to 400,000 tonnes.

Mr Sorasak and Mr Li also discussed the possibility of signing new agreements to facilitate the exportation to China of more Cambodian agricultural products, according to the statement.

“Cambodia and China have expanded trade and strengthened cooperation, particularly when it comes to investment, construction, and infrastructure. This is an important milestone in our relation,” Mr Li said.

“With regards to rice shipments, China and Cambodia will continue to work together to achieve their common goals,” he added.

In talks with the Australian delegation, Mr Sorasak focused on investment in agriculture and mining, according to the ministry.

“The Australian delegation announced that an Australian company is interested in investing in dairy farms in Cambodia to export milk,” the statement said.

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