Cambodia has voiced its support for the initiative to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) to the new Version 3.0, after the successful implementation of Version 1.0 and 2.0.
The support was emphasised by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in his remarks via recorded video at the opening of the 19th China-ASEAN Expo 2022 with the theme “Sharing RCEP New Opportunities, Building a Version 3.0 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area”, held on Sept. 16 in Nanning, China.
“Cambodia believes that we must pay more attention to further expanding and deepening the scope of ASEAN-China economic cooperation, particularly focusing on minimising barriers to trade in goods, services and investment, as well as promoting the development of digital economy, green growth and capacity building of small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” he said.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen is convinced that the implementation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), starting this year, will not only create and bring more trade and investment opportunities for countries in the region, but is also significantly contributing to the growth of the above-mentioned sectors, and especially will become the “Core framework” for building a Version 3.0 ASEAN-China Free Trade Area in the future.
For Cambodia, he continued, with the achievement of “Strong Herd Immunity”, the Royal Government of Cambodia has reopened the country and resumed all domestic production, business, and trade activities since the end of 2021. In addition, over the past two years, the Royal Government has made efforts to address structural issues and laid out subsequent reform programs for implementation such as the “New Investment Law”, “Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035”, and “Strategic Framework and Programmes for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with COVID-19 in a New Normal 2021-2023”, as well as the adoption of Cambodia-China and Cambodia-Korea bilateral free trade agreements etc. aimed to promote the recovery of the Cambodia’s economy.
The Cambodian Premier also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for always attaching high priorities to the support for the development and prosperity of ASEAN.
As the chair of ASEAN for 2022, he said, Cambodia will continue making efforts in further strengthening ASEAN’s cooperation with the People’s Republic of China to ensure the sustainability, inclusiveness, and resiliency of socio-economic development in both regions.
ASEAN-China economic cooperation has accomplished many fruitful achievements since the signing of the ASEAN-China Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in 2002 as well as other subsequent signings of ASEAN-China free trade and investment agreements.