Cambodia and the EU held their 11th joint committee meeting on March 10-11 to discuss trade and investment, cooperation and institution building, administrative reform, legal and judicial reform and human rights.
According to a March 11 joint press release, the meeting was co-chaired by Luy David, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Paola Pampaloni, deputy managing director for Asia and Pacific of the European External Action Service.
The group had discussed and exchanged views on key developments on human rights such as civil and political, labour, land, and women’s rights. Anti-trafficking policies and the ratification of international conventions – as well as Cambodia’s multi-dimensional reform efforts – and preparations towards the June 5 commune council elections were also discussed.
“The EU underlined the critical importance of upholding democratic pluralism, human rights and fundamental freedoms, labour rights and the rule of law,” the joint statement said.
“Both sides noted the significance of the EU’s support in capacity building and financial assistance in these areas of cooperation as well as in the aspects of the rule of law and democratic governance,” it said.
The two parties also examined the trade climate in 2020 and 2021, when bilateral trade between the two was valued at $4.73 billion and $4.95 billion, respectively. They also assessed the bloc’s withdrawal of the Everything but Arms (EBA) preferential trade scheme, effective from August 2020.
“The two sides also committed to further strengthen cooperation to ensure that Cambodia’s investment climate remains open, well facilitated, competitive, and conducive to sustainable socio-economic development,” the statement said.
The progress made in relation to the EU’s continued support to Cambodia’s development was also covered, with the Kingdom expressing its appreciation for the EU’s new Multiannual Indicative Programme (2021-2027) – valued at over $170 million for the period of 2021-2024. The programme focuses on green growth, education and skills development towards quality employment, and good governance.
“The meeting concluded with a constructive and amicable atmosphere. It was agreed that next year’s 12th Cambodia-EU Joint Committee and its three sub-group meetings would be held in Brussels,” the statement said.