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East Timor seeks Cambodia's help over ASEAN, WTO membership

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East Timorese foreign minister Adaljiza Magno pays a courtesy call to Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 28 as part of her official four-day visit to the Kingdom. SPM

East Timor seeks Cambodia's help over ASEAN, WTO membership

East Timorese foreign minister Adaljiza Magno has requested Prime Minister Hun Sen to help her country become an ASEAN member and for technical support on its preparation to accede to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Magno made the call during a meeting with Hun Sen on January 28 as part of her official four-day visit to the Kingdom, according to Hun Sen’s assistant Eang Sophalleth.

“[Magno] also asked for recommendations from Prime Minister Hun Sen on how to promote trade cooperation between the two countries further,” Sophalleth told reporters after the meeting.

Magno also thanked the Cambodian government for providing Covid-19 vaccines to her country.

Sophalleth said Cambodia has always supported East Timor's accession process to the regional bloc.

“Samdech [Hun Sen] will continue to promote the economic and socio-cultural pillars of ASEAN and will prepare a fact-finding mission to East Timor to make the base for a roadmap and timeline for East Timor to become an ASEAN member,” he said, adding that Hun Sen welcomed a technical team from East Timor to study on how to become a member of the WTO and ASEAN.

The premier also urged both sides to find ways to revitalise trade activities, especially the memorandum of understanding that the two countries have signed.

“In the meeting, Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested that East Timor explore the possibility of promoting economic cooperation with Cambodia and start placing purchase orders for rice from the King,” Sophalleth said.

According to Sophalleth, Hun Sen encouraged Timorese businesses to invest in milling machinery, warehousing and relevant infrastructure in the Kingdom, to ramp up rice exports to their country.

The premier also urged East Timor to consider entering into a free trade deal or double taxation agreement with Cambodia.

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