Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Techo Hun Sen, yesterday, urged ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) business leaders, to take advantage of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to further grow their businesses.

He made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the Brunei-hosted ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2021, held via videoconference.

“The existing ASEAN FTAs, especially the RCEP that is planned to enter into force in early 2022, will boost trade and investment activities, particularly foreign direct investment, so as to create jobs, increase income for our people and stimulate economic growth,” he said.

He encouraged the private sector to contribute to human resource development, through the transfer of technology, knowledge and know-how, particularly the development of digital skill, as well as, the enhancement of science, technology and innovation.

Hun Sen said, as the chair of ASEAN in 2022, Cambodia will continue to enhance the building process of ASEAN Economic Community, trade and investment, and cooperation between ASEAN and its partners, in order to restore growth and transform ASEAN into a region of peace, resilience, and development.

Signed on Nov 15, 2020, RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and its FTA partners, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Covering a region with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 26.2 trillion U.S. dollars, or about 30 percent of global GDP, the RCEP agreement is an unprecedented, modern, comprehensive, high-quality and reciprocal mega-regional trading arrangement, that accommodates the broadest interests, conditions and priorities of different countries.

Once in effect, the pact will eliminate tariffs on as much as 90 percent of goods traded between its signatories over the next 20 years.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said, there is no doubt that the RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement and will be the driving force in the post-COVID-19 era.

“RCEP is a victory for multilateralism and defeat of unilateralism,” he said.

Matthews added that the pact will create huge opportunities for the Least Developed Countries in ASEAN, such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, to market their products and commodities in such a big market and multiply their profits and gains.

Source: NAM News Network

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