PHNOM PENH, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) have provided wider exporting markets for Cambodia, officials said on Thursday.
Ly Thuch, president of Cambodia's National Committee for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), said thanks to these free trade agreements, Cambodia's total export to other RCEP member countries totaled 3.28 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2022, up 10 percent year-on-year.
"Overall, these positive developments have transformed Cambodia into a more important and potential center for production, businesses and investments in the region, with larger and more competitive exporting markets for investors from all over the world," he said in a speech at the Policy Dialogue on the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2022.
Both RCEP and the CCFTA took effect on Jan. 1 this year.
RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including 10 ASEAN member states -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Thuch said as the region and the world continue to face increasingly acute challenges including geo-political competition, military, trade and technological wars, climate change, and monetary policy tightening, upholding multilateralism, international cooperation and free trade must be a priority.
"We must adhere to the spirit of openness and support for the multilateral trading system as well as strengthen multilateralism," he said, highlighting the need to promote the openness for international trade and reduce trade barriers, "particularly on strategic commodities such as food, medicine, and energy."
Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat said both RCEP and the CCFTA contribute to Cambodia's export growth.
"Both pacts are also a well-timed intervention in Cambodia's quest for a Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation, likely by 2028 and the country's planned endeavor to achieve the upper-middle income and high-income statuses by 2030 and 2050, respectively," he said.
According to a World Bank research paper, Cambodia ranked third after Vietnam and Malaysia in terms of real income gains and export growth under RCEP. ■