China and Cambodia sign FTA on heels of EU sanctions

China and Cambodia sign FTA on heels of EU sanctions

China and Cambodia on Monday signed a free trade agreement at a ceremony in Phnom Penh attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The FTA, Cambodia’s first such bilateral deal, was completed after just three rounds of talks that started in January and finished in July. It is yet to be made public.

A statement on China’s Ministry of Commerce website said the agreement covered a wide range of cooperation in the areas of investment, trade, tourism, transportation and agriculture.

It was signed by Cambodia’s Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan. According to Cambodia’s state media outlet, the ministers praised the deal as a “new milestone” that would provide “economic and social benefits.”

However, few specifics were released. A spokesman for Cambodia’s Council of Ministers, writing in the Khmer Times in August, said the government hoped the deal would boost exports to China by 25%.

Previous remarks by Cambodian officials have suggested the agreement has a focus on improving agricultural exports to China.