Cambodia Investment Review

Cambodia’s private sector learns trade negation strategies with EuroCham and ARISE Plus support

Cambodia’s private sector learns trade negation strategies with EuroCham and ARISE Plus support

Cambodia Investment Review

EuroCham and ARISE Plus Cambodia have hosted a three-day training program on Trade Policy and Negotiations in Phnom Penh, aimed at preparing private sector representatives to contribute to ongoing and future trade talks and benefit from existing free-trade agreements (FTAs). Cambodia has signed its first two bilateral FTAs with China and South Korea in 2022, and more are expected to follow.

During the course, participants were briefed on the basics of trade deals and given the opportunity to negotiate their own deals using Trade Intelligence Negotiation Adviser (TINA). The interactive program allowed participants to simulate different trade deals with countries around the world and make proposals that could create benefits for the Cambodian economy.

Promoting Cambodia’s regional and international integrations

Cambodia’s Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce, Tith Rithipol, spoke at the training and emphasized the government’s priority of promoting Cambodia’s regional and international integrations, as well as its efforts to deepen market access with numerous trading partners through global, regional, and bilateral platforms. He expressed his appreciation for the training and encouraged all participants to improve their capacities through active learning.

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The training, led by Trade Policy Adviser Sven Callebaut, offered a broad overview of trade negotiation tactics and outlined how Cambodia can use FTAs and other devices to ensure the growth of its economy after its planned graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2027. Callebaut highlighted the need for Cambodia to compete on quality, value chain integration, and not just cheap labor.

Dr. Sok Siphana was one of the expert speakers and is a practicing attorney and the Founding Partner at SokSiphana&assocites,

The private sector was encouraged to stay engaged in a dialogue with the government on trade deals, especially as the economy continues to evolve. The training was also joined by Lead Trade Negotiator & Senior Advisor to the Government of Cambodia, H.E. Dr. Sok Siphana, and Dr. Deborah Elms, Lead Trade Negotiator and Founder and CEO of the Asian Trade Centre, who shared their expertise on trade negotiations and dissected the Rules of Origin stipulations in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to ensure Cambodian companies can take advantage of the recently enacted FTA.

Need to diversify Cambodia’s exports

Cambodia’s economy has long been dependent on garment exports, and the country has made strides in diversifying its economy by maximizing the use of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements. However, there is still a long way to go, and Cambodia needs to prepare for what comes next once it graduates from the LDC category.

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This unique training initiative is part of the activity series delivered under the partnership of ARISE Plus Cambodia and EuroCham, with financial support from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to boost the capacity of the private sector to engage effectively with the government and vice versa on issues related to trade policy, and towards more effective trade policy negotiations.

The training was attended by leading players in Cambodia’s private sector.

The training series is a critical step in helping Cambodia increase its trade and take advantage of new opportunities in the global market. The private sector’s active participation and engagement with the government are crucial for ensuring that future trade deals benefit Cambodia’s economy and promote sustainable growth. Part two of the training, which will focus on Trade Policy and Trade in Services, is scheduled for 3-5 April.

ARISE Plus for the next four years will continue to strengthen the bond between EU and ASEAN through trade related technical assistance provided to the region and will indirectly contribute to the desire and collective will of a sustained economic growth of the ASEAN charter.

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