12 Dec 2019
CAMBODIA: 12-Month FTA Feasibility Study Initiated with South Korea
The country is to jointly participate with South Korea on a feasibility study into a potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA). According to an agreement reached during the recently-concluded ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan, the study will be conducted over the period of a year. Outlining the desirability of such an agreement, a joint statement from the two nations said: “A bilateral FTA will not only strengthen relations and promote trade between our two countries, it will also create further employment and investment opportunities, while promoting service exports that will contribute more to economic growth and bring greater benefits to the people of both countries”.
The latest move follows the commencement of FTA negotiations between Cambodia and China as of 3 December. In the case of South Korea, which numbers China among its largest export markets, this is the latest in a series of bids to secure alternative export destinations, particularly elsewhere within the ASEAN bloc. In line with this, the country recently concluded FTA negotiations with Indonesia and is at an advanced stage with regard to putting in place a similar arrangement with the Philippines.
In 2018, Cambodia’s exports to South Korea totalled US$314 million, a massive increase on the US$18 million recorded just ten years previously. The country’s imports from South Korea also increased, growing from $294 million in 2008 to US$660 million last year. Cambodia’s primary exports to South Korea include garments, footwear, electronics, natural rubber and travel accessories, while its primary imports from the country include knitted textiles, trucks, electronics, cosmetics and beverages.