China’s Wang Yi to ink Free Trade Agreement today

October 12, 2020, Harrison White / Khmer Times 

The Free Trade Agreement between Cambodia and China will  be signed during a two-day state visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Phnom Penh today, according to an official announcement on Saturday.

The announcement has ended months of speculation about the exact date the agreement would be signed after its original scheduled date of Aug 12, to be held in Beijing, was not met.

While no official reason was given for the delay it is thought that COVID-19 as well as large-scale flooding in China were to blame.

Khmer Times has been informed that Prime Minister  Hun Sen instructed officials to arrange the signing during the state visit but also suggested it could be arranged via video conference or Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce, Pan Sorasak, travelling to China.

According to the official announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued on Saturday, Wang will pay a courtesy call to Prime Minister Hun Sen and also meet Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong.

He will hold an official meeting with Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Various fields of bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international issues of common interest and concerns, will be discussed, the announcement said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen will witness the signing of the FTA and two other important documents namely the Exchange of Note for the Feasibility Study on the Project of Improvement Preah Sihanouk Provincial Referral Hospital, as well as the Exchange of Note for the Feasibility Study on the Project of the Municipal Sewerage System Development Project in Preah Sihanouk province, the announcement added.

The FTA will list around 340 more commodities to be exported to China under the agreement.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, most of the products are in agriculture and agro-processing and are in addition to what Cambodia has received from the Asean-China FTA.

The 340 products will include items such as pepper, chilis, pineapples, vegetables, fruit, fish, meat (including processed), grain, crabs, seafood and a variety of canned products.

Among the additional 340 commodities in the Cambodia-China FTA, 95 percent of them will be untaxed. Taxes will be dropped on the remaining 5 percent in at least 10 years.