Phnom Penh (FN), Sep. 16 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen, and also the rotating chair of ASEAN in 2022 urged ASEAN and China on further expanding and deepening the scope of ASEAN-China economic cooperation, particularly focusing on minimizing barriers to trade in goods, services and investment.
The premier spoke in the 19th China-ASEAN Expo 2022, with the theme on “Sharing RCEP new opportunities, building a version 3.0 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area”, held on Friday morning (Sep 16) via recorded video.
“ASEAN-China economic cooperation has accomplished many fruitful achievements since the signing of the ASEAN-China Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in 2002 as well as other subsequent signings of ASEAN-China free trade and investment agreements,” the premier underlined.
The premier continued, “ASEAN and China must pay more attention on further expanding and deepening the scope of ASEAN-China economic cooperation, particularly focusing on minimizing barriers to trade in goods, services and investment, as well as promoting the development of digital economy, green growth and capacity building of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)”.
Samdech was confident that the implementation of RCEP, starting this year, will not only create and bring more trade and investment opportunities for countries in the region, but are also significantly contributing to the growth of the above-mentioned sectors, and especially will become the "Core framework" for building a version 3.0 ASEAN-China Free Trade Area in the future.
“As the chair of ASEAN for 2022, Cambodia will continue making efforts in further strengthening ASEAN’s cooperation with the People's Republic of China to ensure the sustainability, inclusiveness, and resiliency of socioeconomic development in both regions,” the premier continued.
For Cambodia, with the achievement of "Strong Herd Immunity", the Royal Government of Cambodia has reopened the country and resumed all domestic production, business, and trade activities since the end of 2021. In addition, over the past two years, the Royal Government has made efforts to address structural issues and laid out subsequent reform programs for implementation such as the “New Investment Law”, “Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035”, and “Strategic Framework and Programs for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with COVID19 in a New Normal 2021-2023”, as well as the adoption of Cambodia-China and Cambodia-Korea bilateral free trade agreements etc. aimed to promote the recovery of the Cambodia’s economy.
ASEAN-China is a major trading partner in the region. In 2021, the ASEAN-China trade volume reached nearly USD 9 billion US dollars. China exported nearly USD 5 billion and imported nearly USD 4 billion. Chinese investment in ASEAN is more than USD 14 billion while ASEAN investment in China is over USD 10 billion.