ASEAN disputes law to up trade, investment

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Commerce minister Pan Sorasak says the protocol will provide important benefits to Cambodia, as a least developed country (LDC), and establish special procedures for LDCs in dispute settlements within the ASEAN framework. SUPPLIED

A draft law regarding the approval of the latest version of the ASEAN Protocol on Enhanced Dispute Settlement Mechanism, which sailed through the Senate on December 2, will further spur investment and international trade in Cambodia and the region, experts claim.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on December 5 that the law would serve as an additional instrument to resolve investment, trade and tourism issues within the ASEAN framework and beyond.

 

As a complement to existing ASEAN protocols, legislation and other agreed covenants, the law will also encourage foreign entities inside and outside the region to invest more in the bloc once Cambodia and the nine other member states adopt it, he said.

The law “facilitates and promotes the investment process in the region as well as for foreign investors outside of ASEAN to invest in the bloc, facilitates cross-border trade, and contributes to tourism”, he added.

According to Vanak, the draft law will be presented at the 2022 ASEAN Summit, hosted by the Kingdom, for member states to review.

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the protocol will provide important benefits to Cambodia, as a least developed country (LDC), and establish special procedures for LDCs in dispute settlements within the ASEAN framework.

He said that as ASEAN chair next year, the Kingdom is committed to significantly strengthening the dispute resolution mechanism within the ASEAN framework, which he asserted is undergirded by a suite of agreements ratified by member states’ legislative organs.

“Cambodia, as an ASEAN member, will receive special procedures for the least developed member states, and demonstrate its commitment as the ASEAN chair next year, to make significant contributions to strengthening the dispute resolution mechanism within the ASEAN framework,” Sorasak said.

 

He underlined that the Ministry of Commerce “always strives” to implement government policies and mandates, and is “especially committed” to work with state agencies, international bodies and the private sector on the development of laws and other legal documents on trade and cooperation, in a bid to improve the business environment, create jobs and improve people’s livelihoods.

The minister expects the law to bring essential benefits to society as a whole, and above all, demonstrate Cambodia’s commitment and participation in making an important contribution to the ASEAN community.