Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - South Korea FTA set to be signed Oct 26

South Korea FTA set to be signed Oct 26

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak (right) speaks with his then-South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-hee on February 3. Heng Chivoan

South Korea FTA set to be signed Oct 26

The Cambodia-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) is set to be signed on October 26, ushering in a new chapter that will open up fresh avenues in trade and investment between the two Asian nations, according to a senior Ministry of Commerce official.

Ministry undersecretary of state Pen Sovicheat told The Post on October 20 that Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and the South Korean trade minister would virtually endorse the CKFTA.

This comes more than eight months after the agreed minutes on the conclusion of negotiations over the trade deal were signed, cementing the terms and conditions for the free trade agreement (FTA).

Under the CKFTA, coupled with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Kingdom will lift tariffs on 93.8 per cent of goods traded, with South Korea scrapping duties on 95.6 per cent, Yonhap News Agency reported in February.

Under the deal, more than 10,000 Cambodian goods will be granted duty-free access to South Korea, according to Sovicheat.

Improved access to the South Korean market will create a wealth of opportunities for primary and processed agricultural goods; textiles-based merchandise such as garments, footwear and travel bags; rubber; spare parts; electronic components; light industrial products; and a host of other wares churned out inside and outside of special economic zones (SEZ) in the Kingdom, he said.

The FTA will also facilitate the import of electronics, pharmaceutical products and auto parts, he added.

He portended that heightened purchases of South Korean intermediate and capital goods such as raw materials, machinery and other equipment used in domestic production would lead to a meaningful surge in productivity and quality of goods for export.

Much like the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, the CKFTA “is another indicator of the efforts and successes of the Ministry of Commerce in opening up markets for the export of Cambodian goods", he said.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea in the first half of 2021 was worth $451.98 million, up by 6.72 per cent from $423.51 million in the same period last year, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association (Kita).

In January-June, Cambodian exports amounted to $159.4 million, down by 1.6 per cent year-on-year from $162.06 million, and imports clocked in at $292.59 million, up by 11.9 per cent year-on-year from $261.45 million. This means that the trade deficit widened by 34.0 per cent from $99.4 million to $133.2 million.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, previously told The Post that the two countries have cultivated strong trade relations, which will become all the more “special” when the FTA enters into force.

Even so, he encouraged the Kingdom to incorporate more commercially viable commodities into its export portfolio, to make the most out of its trade arrangements with trading partners.

“The diversification of products for export to foreign markets will better position Cambodia to excel in international trade.”

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to