‘Trustworthy friends’ for all seasons

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Cambodia Chamber of Commerce president Neak Oknha Kith Meng. SUPPLIED

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce president Neak Oknha Kith Meng – who is also the chairman of Royal Group of Companies – shares his views on Cambodia-China trade ties on the occasion of the China National Day celebrations.

China and Cambodia have enjoyed steady bilateral relations for decades. How do you rate the level of ties so far?

Cambodia and China are trustworthy friends. The relation between both countries has been developed into a comprehensive and strategic partnership.

Trade, investment, tourism, culture and people-to-people relations have been strengthened and nurtured from generation to generation.

How is the chamber involved in promoting trade ties between the Cambodian and Chinese business communities?

The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with our partner organisations in China.

We have jointly organised business and investment promotion programmes.

Our major partners include the China Council of International Trade Promotion, the Boao Forum of Asia and the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, we still hold online business matching with China.

What are the main priority areas that you would like to focus on to enhance bilateral trade, especially during the pandemic?

All areas are important to bilateral cooperation. We should continue strengthening and exploring more areas of cooperation.

China has become a major investor in Cambodia and contributed immensely to the Kingdom’s growth. How has Cambodia benefited?

Cambodia has benefited from the bilateral cooperation with China as well as regional mechanism.

Investments made by China have contributed to socio-economic development in Cambodia.

The country has enjoyed technology transfers and skilled labour development in all areas invested in by Chinese companies, such as infrastructure, energy and agriculture.

Cambodia ratified the China Cambodia Free Trade (CCFTA) agreement that aims to increase the trade of goods by reducing and eliminating tariffs, and non-tariff barriers. Will this pact take trade relations to a different level?

Cambodia and China signed the Free Trade Agreement in 2020. The agreement was recently ratified by the National Assembly.

It is expected to help boost bilateral economic and trade relations to a new level and continuously improve the wellbeing of the businesses and people of the two countries.

How can the recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership further spur Cambodia’s economic growth?

This year is the first year after the formal signing of the agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was signed by 15 countries on November 2020.

This mutually beneficial agreement covers most of the world’s population, with the biggest economic scale and most growth potential so far.

Once fully ratified and implemented, it is expected that Cambodia will benefit from this agreement and obtain broader market access for Cambodian products. It will also help to diversify Cambodia’s trade and investment.