Phnom Penh (FN), Jan. 18 – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested India to examine the possibility of a free trade agreement in order to expand investment and trade between the two countries.

The newly appointed Ambassador of India to Cambodia Devyani Uttamkhobragade paid a courtesy call on Premier Hun Sen on Monday morning at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh.

The premier’s personal secretary Eang Sophalleth said that during the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ambassador discussed and noted the improvement of Cambodia-India relations.
"Cambodia-India relations dated back to a long history with many positive outcomes,” Sophalleth quoted the premier as saying.

The ambassador commended the wise leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen in using civilization, culture and religion as the tools to improve Cambodia-India relations. She pledged to further strengthen Cambodia-India trade and cooperation.

The premier recalled that India was the country that supports Cambodia’s fight for the independence in 1950s, and in 1980s, India was among the first to recognize Cambodia’s People Republic of Kampuchea government, while the UN still recognized Democratic Kampuchea government.

Premier Hun Sen said it is high time for the two countries to strengthen and deepen the cooperation, particularly in investment and trade; and that the free trade agreement is the key.

Data from the Indian embassy in Cambodia said the trade volume between the two countries reached USD 250 million in 2019, up 10 percent compared to 2018’s USD 227 million.

Cambodia exported goods to India worth USD 82 million last year, up 69 percent from 2018, while imports amounted to USD 168 million, down 6 percent.

Indian investment is worth USD 20 million. The country is among the top 10 foreign investors in Cambodia. India’s main investments are in machinery, agriculture, energy, construction and mining.

Both parties also discussed the arrangement of the official visit of His Majesty Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni to India in the near future in order to strengthen the relations of both countries.