According to a recent report from the ASEAN Briefing news site, the National Assembly of Cambodia ratified a bilateral free trade agreement with China on September 9, with the aim of increasing the flow of goods between the two countries by reducing or by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. .
The China-Cambodia FTA is very broad in scope and covers many sectors, including trade, tourism, investment, transport and agriculture. China has granted tariff exemption to 97.5% of Cambodian goods, while Cambodia has granted the same to 90% of Chinese goods, the highest figures of any free trade negotiations between the two countries in this day.
Although the vast majority of Cambodian goods exported to China were already duty-free under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, the new China-Cambodia FTA extends duty-free status to 340 kinds of goods, including seafood, garlic, cashew nuts and dried peppers.
From January to May 2021, Cambodian exports to China were valued at $ 558 million, an increase of 56% from the same period last year. Agricultural exports are largely responsible for this increase, with China’s demand for Cambodian agricultural products steadily increasing. In the first five months of 2021, Cambodian fruit exports to China increased by 200%.
Bananas and mangoes are the only fresh fruits from Cambodia currently approved for export to China, but growth in this area has been rapid. Cambodian bananas gained access to the Chinese market in 2018 and by 2019, the total volume of banana exports to China had already reached 130,000 tons. In 2020, Cambodia became the third Chinese supplier of bananas after the Philippines and Vietnam, reaching a market share of 20%.
Cambodian mangoes were officially approved for export to China in 2020, with the first shipment of 100 tonnes taking place in May 2021. In the first seven months of this year, Cambodia’s fresh mango exports to China reached 161,000 tonnes, an increase of 248% over the same period last year.
China is also reportedly assessing Cambodia’s demand to export longans, which will likely become the next Cambodian fruit to enter the Chinese market. Besides longans, the two countries are also prioritizing other fruit products in their negotiations, including dragon fruit and coconuts. Domestically, Cambodia is also assessing the feasibility of investing in exporting dragon fruit to China, with authorities launching a large-scale dragon fruit cultivation project aimed at exporting to China.
Over the past decade, Chinese investments have been a major source of support for Cambodia’s development. In 2018, Chinese investments in Cambodia amounted to $ 5.8 billion. Chinese investments in Cambodia have subsidized large-scale irrigation projects, rice mills and agricultural schools. A list detailing 100 Chinese investment projects in Cambodia over the past 20 years indicates that 17% of those investments were related to the agricultural sector.
Negotiating free trade agreements can often take years, even decades; by contrast, the China-Cambodia FTA negotiations were concluded in record time. At the end of 2019, the two sides concluded a joint study on the feasibility of a bilateral FTA and recommended the continuation of the talks. The two countries announced the conclusion of the China-Cambodia FTA negotiations in July 2020 and signed the agreement on October 12, 2020. In July 2021, Cambodia submitted the FTA to its National Assembly for approval – the plan The initial was for the FTA to come into effect in early 2022, but the National Assembly approved it on September 9, just two months after its submission. Agricultural products are a major area of economic cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, and the new bilateral FTA between Cambodia and China is expected to pave the way for more Cambodian fruits and other agricultural products to enter the market. Chinese.
This article has been translated from Chinese. Read the original article.