The head of the apex Cambodia trade body has asked importers operating in the southern Chinese region of Guangxi to take advantage of the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and buy produce made in the Kingdom, particularly items on which concessions have been granted.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Kith Meng made the request on January 6 at a meeting at the CCC office in Phnom Penh with a delegation of officials and business leaders from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, led by Fu Jinming, deputy director of the region’s Department of Commerce, according to a statement from the trade body.

CCC vice-president Lim Heng, who was at the meeting, told The Post on January 9 that the two sides discussed ways to promote and enhance trade and investment between the two countries, with a focus on trade fairs.

Members of the delegation “have led many large companies to seek investment opportunities in Cambodia, especially in the agricultural sector”, he said.

At the meeting, Meng proposed a relaxation in export-related formalities so as to ratchet up overseas sales of Cambodian produce, Heng said, adding that implementation of the CCFTA is “proceeding smoothly”.

Heng shared that the CCC boss is slated to visit Guangxi in April and meet the local business community. And in September, Meng is due to co-organise the Cambodia-China Business Summit to promote two-way trade and investment.

The summit, Heng said, is to be held on the occasion of the China-ASEAN Expo, which is scheduled for September 16-19 this year.

The bilateral CCFTA entered effect on January 1, 2022, eliminating tariffs on thousands of Cambodian and Chinese goods.

The Cambodian-Chinese merchandise trade totalled $10.579 billion in the first 11 months of 2022, up 6.31 per cent year-on-year, with imports from China accounting for an 89.51 per cent share, up 3.29 percentage points from the same time in 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

In January-November 2022, Cambodian imports from China were to the tune of $9.470 billion, up 10.36 per cent year-on-year, but exports to Chinese shores slid 19.1 per cent to $1.109 billion. The Kingdom’s trade deficit with China for the period expanded just over 15.95 per cent to $8.360 billion on a yearly basis.