RCEP, FTAs to help Cambodia attract more FDIs, boost exports

RCEP, FTAs to help Cambodia attract more FDIs, boost exports

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) are expected to help Cambodia attract more foreign direct investment (FDIs) and boost its exports, National Bank of Cambodia’s Governor Chea Serey said here on Monday.

Cambodia is a member of the RCEP agreement that engaged with 15 Asia-Pacific countries, and the kingdom also has bilateral FTAs with China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

“On the back of the implementation of the RCEP agreement and other bilateral FTAs, Cambodia is expected to attract more FDI inflows and expand its exports to the region,” she said in a speech during the opening ceremony of a seminar on Cambodia’s financial stability.

Serey said these trade pacts will help boost Cambodia’s productivity and promote its economic diversification. The kingdom’s economy is forecast to grow 6 percent in 2024, up from 5 percent in 2023, driven by a rise in exports, recovery in tourism, robust growth in transport and communication, and flat growth in agriculture.

A government report said Cambodia approved a $2.5 billion fixed-asset investment in the first four months of 2024, which will create approximately 130,000 jobs.

On the trade side, Southeast Asian countries exported products worth 8 billion dollars during the January-April period this year, up 15.2 percent from $6.94 billion over the same period last year.

The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s Secretary of State and Spokesperson, Penn Sovicheat, said the RCEP agreement and bilateral FTAs will help Cambodia realize its ambitious goals of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income nation by 2050.

“These trade pacts have not only given a boost to Cambodia’s sustainable trade growth in the long run but also become a magnet to attract more FDIs to the kingdom,” he told Xinhua.

RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including the 10 ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states of 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.

Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, a think tank under the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that, in addition to these free trade agreements, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has laid a solid foundation for Cambodia’s socioeconomic development in the long term.

“Under the BRI framework, China has heavily invested in infrastructure projects such as highways, bridges, expressways, hydropower plants, special economic zones, seaports, and airports,” he told Xinhua. “These BRI flagship projects have significantly impacted Cambodia’s development agenda, brought opportunities for Cambodia to get rid of poverty, and promoted mutual benefit and win-win results, which are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.”

Phea said these large-scale projects have contributed significantly to promoting connectivity, securing a sustainable source of electricity supply, enhancing economic competitiveness, diversifying sources of growth, and reducing logistics costs in Cambodia.

“Among flagship projects in Cambodia under the BRI, I have been impressed by the Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, and the Siem Reap Angkor International Airport,” he said. Xinhua(khmertimeskh)

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