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German envoy advises government to work closely with EU on EBA status

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Ambassador Christian Berger and National Assembly president Heng Samrin hold a meeting. National Assembly

Germany’s new ambassador yesterday urged the government to work closely with the European Union to ensure that the Kingdom’s Everything-but-arms trade status is retained.

The advice was given during a meeting between Ambassador Christian Berger and National Assembly president Heng Samrin.

Keo Piseth, Mr Samrin’s cabinet chief, told reporters after the meeting that Mr Berger assured Mr Samrin that Germany will try its best to help Cambodia, but the Kingdom needs to work closely with the European Commission on the issue.

“He [Mr Berger] said that Germany will not overlook issues which affect Cambodia and will try its best to help resolve the issue,” Mr Piseth said. “However, he noted that Germany is only one of the EU’s members and could not unilaterally resolve the issue.”

“The most important thing is for the Cambodian government itself to work closely with the European Commission to resolve the trade status,” he quoted the ambassador as saying. “Germany will try its best to help Cambodia.”

In response, Mr Samrin expressed his gratitude for Germany’s support and wished Mr Berger success to fulfil his mission in the Kingdom.

A National Assembly statement yesterday said that during their meeting Mr Samrin praised the German government for its role in providing assistance in developing the Kingdom.

“Samdech President emphasised that the National Assembly of Cambodia supports Mr Berger and promises to provide full cooperation [with the German embassy] in order make his diplomatic mission in Cambodia successful,” it said. “He noted that Germany is one of the biggest importers of Cambodian goods among European Union members.”

The statement said that in response, Mr Berger told Mr Samrin that during his mission in the Kingdom, he will try his best to strengthen relations between both nations.

“Mr Christian Berger told Samdech president that during his mission in Cambodia, he will try his best to push for strong cooperation between both nations in all sectors, including education, healthcare and governance,” it said. “He noted the existing good relations and cooperation between Cambodia and Germany, including regular exchanges visits.”

On October 23, Mr Berger met Prime Minister Hun Sen at Peace Palace, where he pledged to forge better ties with Cambodia.

Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister, said at the time that Mr Berger also said that Germany plans to open its first chamber of commerce office to expand trade with the Kingdom and Mr Hun Sen expressed optimism that the ambassador will further promote Cambodia-Germany relations.

The German embassy recently tweeted that both nations will work hard toward finding a solution regarding the EBA issue.

“Let us strengthen the friendship between the Cambodian and the German governments and peoples,” it said. “Let us work hard to boost our economic ties, including building trust and finding a solution to EBA in all its facets.”

Cambodia and Germany established diplomatic ties in 1967.  In 2017, Germany imported about $1.7 billion worth of goods from Cambodia and exported $286.7 million worth. More than 100,000 Germans visit the Kingdom every year.

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