Having successfully signed several free trade agreements (FTAs) last year, Cambodia is considering the possibility of a similar partnership with Switzerland.
Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak explored the possibility of an FTA during a recent meeting with Switzerland’s Minister of State for Economic Affairs Helen Budriger Artieda.
The meeting in Davos, which hosts the World Economic Forum, also discussed measures to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, the ministry said in a statement.
During the meeting, Sorasak said the two countries had good relations and emphasized the diplomatic ties established in 1963.
He pointed out that trade between Cambodia and Switzerland is steadily increasing every year. The total trade value between the two countries will reach $379 million in 2020 and exceed $974 million in 2021.
Sorasak also discussed the possibility of establishing a free trade agreement to further strengthen trade cooperation between the two countries.
He thanked the Swiss government for its support and development programs in areas such as agriculture and food security, good governance and people’s participation in vocational training and employment.
Altieda welcomed the initiative and said the Swiss government has supported Cambodia’s transition and economic development efforts.
She praised Cambodia’s success in curbing the spread of Covid-19 and congratulated Cambodia on becoming the chair of ASEAN in 2022 and a successful host of the ASEAN Summit.
The two sides also committed to further strengthening existing bilateral relations and expanding cooperation and international cooperation in priority areas.
Cambodia has tried to boost its international trade prospects by entering into free trade agreements with several countries. Joined the East Asia Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The RCEP has 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific, including 10 of her ASEAN member states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
Moreover, the country signed FTAs with China and South Korea last year.
The Kingdom is also in talks with the United Arab Emirates to form the Cambodia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CAM-UAE CEPA). A third meeting is scheduled for this year.
The country is also eyeing the possibility of reaching similar agreements with Japan and Bangladesh.
According to a recent report by the ministry, Cambodia’s trade volume with RCEP countries in 2022 will increase by 4% year-on-year to $31.03 billion.
Experts say the CCFTA and RCEP are giving momentum to bilateral trade between Cambodia and China.
From January to November 2022, bilateral trade volume reached $14.5 billion, up 19.1% year-on-year, the economic and commercial bureau of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia said in a release.
According to Ministry of Commerce data, Cambodia exported $4.703 billion worth of goods to RCEP member countries in the first nine months of last year, an increase of 6% compared to the same period last year.
The kingdom imported $19.363 billion worth of goods from RCEP member countries, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year, he added.