Phnom Penh: Cambodia’s trade with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries reached $31 billion in 2022, up 4 per cent from a year earlier, according to a Ministry of Commerce report.
The report released on Tuesday said the kingdom’s export to the RCEP countries amounted to $6.34 billion last year, up 7 per cent, while its import from the RCEP countries totaled $24.68 billion, increasing 3 per cent.
The Southeast Asian nation’s top five trading partners under RCEP are China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Japan, the report added.
Entered into force on January 1, 2022, the RCEP free trade agreement comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including 10 ASEAN member states — 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.
Cambodian Ministry of Commerce’s Undersecretary of State and Spokesman Penn Sovicheat said Cambodia’s trade growth with other RCEP countries was moderate because the kingdom and other countries alike have just recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We believe that the growth will be higher this year and beyond,” he told Xinhua.
“RCEP is a catalyst for our long-term and sustainable trade growth and it is a magnet to attract more foreign direct investments to our country.”
Sovicheat added the world’s largest free trade pact would help Cambodia graduate from its least developed country status, likely by 2028, and to achieve its goals of becoming an upper-middle income country in 2030 and a high-income nation by 2050.
Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the RCEP deal has provided mutually beneficial cooperation and win-win results for all participating countries.
“RCEP has not only facilitated free flows of trade, but also promoted the integration of regional industrial and supply chains,” he told Xinhua.
“It will help attract foreign enterprises to expand their presence in Cambodia and other member countries.”