Cambodian PM Says RCEP Will Help Regional Economic Integration

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet attended the third RCEP Economic and Trade Cooperation Business Summit under theme of “Integrating into RCEP’s More Open Market and Promoting Win-Win Asia-Pacific Cooperation” in Nanning, China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region this afternoon.

For Cambodia, he said, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is very important as it shows the Kingdom’s commitment to promoting regional economic integration.

Cambodia was chairing ASEAN when RCEP negotiations began in 2012 and again last year when the agreement came into force, the Cambodian Premier recalled.

“RCEP remains the world’s largest free-trade agreement. It is modern, vibrant, comprehensive and of high quality. Given global uncertainties, RCEP is critical to bolster confidence in the multilateral trading system, post-Covid recovery, and regional and global economic integration based on win-win principles and mutual benefits,” he underlined.

To reinforce the role of RCEP, Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet shared some thoughts:

“First, I believe all members agree that the Chinese economy plays a vital role in the growth of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN and China need to further boost the resilience of our economic cooperation and interaction. We need to show the world that promoting free, open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trade remains the best joint solution for us all.

Second, besides trade in goods, we should focus on promoting trade in services, notably digital commerce. I see potential to leverage synergies between bilateral free-trade agreements and RCEP to further increase trade in goods and services. As we begin to negotiate an ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement, I believe we need to anticipate the role of RCEP within the framework to promote digital commerce on a larger scale.

Third, we must recognize that the private sector is key to implementing this agreement – and will help share economic benefits widely with our people. So, we should keep stressing the importance of RCEP to the private sector – especially start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises – and encourage and support its ability to take part.

Fourth, we should expedite the completion of procedures for new members to apply and consider expanding membership. ASEAN’s common policy is to promote integration into the global economy and strengthen ties with potential external partners.

Fifth, ensuring inclusivity is important to make RCEP attractive and show the benefits of engaging in multilateral trade.”

To that end, Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet encouraged the effective implementation of the Chapter on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which helps members from Least-Developed Countries meet their obligations.

The Prime Minister affirmed that under its new mandate, the Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to continuing to strengthen Cambodia’s role in ASEAN, improve governance, expand the capacity of the private sector, and promote regional and global economic integration. To this end, Cambodia will use the frameworks of ASEAN– and those between ASEAN and its partners – as well as RCEP to attract more foreign investment, promote economic growth and build resilience.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse