Phnom Penh, September 18, 2019 —Cambodian Prime Minister anticipates China’s positive response for the formulation of Cambodia-China free trade area more supportive to the Kingdom’s economy, in addition to the existing regional version.
The Premier Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen expressed the optimism, he called “a huge hope”, in a recent exclusive interview with prominent Chinese media at his residence in Takhmao town of Kandal province, Cambodia.
“Currently we are using the mechanism of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, and I have a huge hope that a Cambodia-China free trade area framework will take shape in a near future,” he said.
“Through the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area mechanism, I think ASEAN countries benefit more than China, because China’s imports from ASEAN countries are bigger than the imports of ASEAN countries from China.”
With the existence of Cambodia-China free trade area, Cambodia will have access to China’s giant market of about 1,300 million population, bringing about possibility of Cambodia’s expanded export volume, and more Chinese investment and tourists coming to Cambodia.
“Now Chinese people have money to buy imported products and to tour the world,” Samdech Techo Prime Minister said, adding that annually there are about 200 million Chinese visiting foreign countries and about two million of them came to Cambodia last year.
According to online sources, ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a free trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People’s Republic of China.
Globally, it is the largest free trade area in terms of population, third largest in terms of nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the third largest trade volume after the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Area.
The free trade agreement mechanism reduced tariffs on more than 7,800 product categories, or 90 percent of imported goods, to zero.
Since ACFTA was launched, China’s share of ASEAN total merchandise trade increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 21 percent in 2018, making it ASEAN’s biggest trading partner with trade amounting to US$591.1 billion.
Seeing the regional trend, Samdech Techo Prime Minister is convinced that a Cambodia-China free trade area will further boost Cambodia’s economic performance.
By Lim Nary