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Cambodia-UK trade still alive after Brexit: Ministry of Commerce

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Brexit supporters wave Union flags and a mask of Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the time reaches 11pm (midnight in Brussels), in Parliament Square, the venue for the Leave Means Leave Brexit Celebration in central London on Jan 31, the moment the UK formally left the European Union. AFP

Trade relation between Cambodia and the United Kingdom will improve in the future, said a senior official at Ministry of Commerce.

The comments were made after the UK officially left the European Union on Jan 31 but is in a so-called transition period until Dec 31 during which it must abide by EU rules and regulations.

The UK is the biggest importer of producer from Cambodia, with Germany coming second.

Currently the EU has a trade deal with Cambodia known as Everything but Arms (EBA) that discounts tariffs on products that have no military use. However, the EU is contemplating withdrawing that deal at least in part this month, risking many job losses. If it does, it is as yet uncertain whether Britain will have to follow suit until Dec 31.

The ministry’s spokesman Seang Thay said at a news conference on Cambodia’s trade update and progress at the Council of the Ministers: “With the UK leaving the EU, Cambodia would be in a  better trading individual trading position with the country.”

According to Thay, the bilateral trade amount between Cambodia and the UK was valued at more than $1 billion last year.

“here are some countries in the EU who don’t support withdrawing the EBA dea from Cambodia,” Thay said. “We hope that with the UK leaving the EU, bilateral cooperation will be better.”

However, Cambodia has not yet mentioned the timeframe for conducting a bilateral trade agreement with the UK after Brexit, Thay added.

“We have not undertaken trade negotiations with the UK yet, but we have a target to make trade negotiation with foreign countries including with China and South Korea and others.

“We want to see the UK leaving the EU. After its departure, the UK’s economy will remain strong and the country will continue to import Cambodian goods,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen last year.

Figures from the Ministry of Commerce show that Cambodia mainly exports garments and footwear, milled rice and bicycles to the UK.

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