Cambodia is gathering input from all stakeholders on a wide spectrum of issues, including environmental concerns, to be incorporated in a draft framework document for negotiations on the ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Pich Rithy said the trade deal would be crucial to boosting trade between Canada and members of the 10-nation bloc, of which Cambodia is a member, highlighting the size and prosperity of the North American country.

Rithy told this to a May 27 inter-ministerial meeting held to obtain feedback for sections in the draft framework document that touch on environmental concerns.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that Canada is a major buyer of Cambodian bicycles, as well as apparel and other finished textile products.

“Canada is an important market for Cambodia. A free trade agreement [FTA], even at a regional level, will help improve Cambodia’s exports,” he said, noting a rising global trend of countries and trade blocs in the market for FTAs, to promote trade growth and bring about mutual benefits.

Even with the Covid-19 crisis driving large international trade declines across the globe, Canada managed to rank eighth last year on Cambodia’s largest trading partner list.

Trade between the two countries was worth a total of $800.40 million last year, down by 16.44 per cent compared to 2019, the commerce ministry reported.

The Kingdom exported $745.04 million worth of merchandise in 2020, declining by 10.95 per cent, and imported $55.36 million, down by 54.31 per cent.