China, Cambodia clinch free trade pact in under a year

“中國與柬埔寨於12日簽署一項自由貿易協定。目標是大幅削減關稅,降低中、柬進入雙方市場的門檻。這項在1年內完成談判的協議是中、柬雙邊關係里程碑,象徵了雙方的緊密連結。柬埔寨方面希望這項協議能在明年初生效,以提供雙方更強健的經濟夥伴關係。”


PHNOM PENH: China and Cambodia signed a free trade agreement on Monday (Oct 12), put together in under a year and aimed at slashing tariffs and boosting market access between Beijing and one of its most important Asian allies.

The agreement, for which talks started late last year, covers sectors that include trade, tourism and agriculture, under which both countries will cut duties for their products.

The signing was attended by the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at a ceremony streamed online.

"The signing of the agreement signifies even stronger ties between the two countries and marks another key historical milestone for Cambodia-China relations," Cambodia's Commerce Minister, Pan Sorasak, told the ceremony.

The agreement, which he said he hoped would come into effect early next year, "would provide more robust economic partnerships through a higher degree of market access, liberalisation for goods, services and investment", he said.

There were no details provided about the agreement and it was not immediately clear how it would work with existing trade arrangements between China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Cambodia is a member.

Depending on its terms, the deal could be a boost for Cambodia, which suffered the suspension last year of part of its special trade preferences with the European Union, a key market for its exports, over human rights concerns.

That included reimposing tariffs on certain garments and footwear, which are central to manufacturing jobs and its economy.

Cambodia, which is among Asia's poorest countries, has been an important ally to China in recent years and has been accused of giving it de facto veto power in ASEAN's consensus-based decision-making process in return for economic support.

Cambodia has rejected that and insisted its foreign policy is not under China's influence.

Source: CNA NEWS
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/china-cambodia-free-trade-agreement-fta-asean-13263138