China-ASEAN Monitor: Cambodia-China free trade agreement negotiations to start in December

Photo Credit: Khmer Times


Economy, Investment and Trade


Cambodia-China free trade agreement negotiations to start in December
(15 November 2019) Cambodia and China will commence the first round of official talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on December 3 in Beijing, the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh announced last week. This was confirmed by Cambodian commerce state secretary Sok Sopheak, who said that the bilateral FTA would help them realise greater opportunities and market access beyond the ASEAN-China FTA. He added that China is not keen on a bilateral FTA with Thailand or Vietnam because they, unlike Cambodia, are big producers of agricultural products that could flood the Chinese market.
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Chinese rice imports from Cambodia grew 40% from January to October 2019
(15 November 2019) Cambodia’s exports of rice to China saw a 40% year-on-year increase in the first ten months of this year totalling 184,844 tonnes. Furthermore, its exports to foreign markets also grew 5% on the year during the period totalling 457,940 tonnes. According to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), they remain confident of meeting this year’s 300,000-tonne quota set by the Chinese government and hope that the Chinese will increase their import quota to 400,000 next year. The CRF is also working on diversifying their export markets to lower their dependence on exports to the EU.
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The Philippines sees US$300 million in sales at the CIIE 2019
(12 November 2019) Filipino exhibitors more than doubled their revenue at this year’s China International Import Exposition (CIIE) with approximately US$300 million in sales. According to trade secretary Ramon M. Lopez, the Philippines was represented by 139 exhibitors and its top generators were bananas, pineapples, mangoes, durian, as well as other processed food products. Lopez added that the rise in sales shows that “China sees the Philippines as a significant source of agricultural and other products.” Lopez’s ministry said that they expect “much bigger participation” at next year’s CIIE.
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Lazada’s 11.11 campaign attracts nearly 10 million more users
(15 November 2019) Alibaba’s Southeast Asian e-commerce arm Lazada said that it attracted almost 10 million more users and twice as many participating sellers during this year’s 11.11 24-hour Global Shopping Festival when compared to last year. Furthermore, 26 brands recorded over US$1 million in sales during the 24 hours, while over 4,000 sellers saw over US$10,000 in sales.
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Malaysian bank sets aside funding for ECRL’s local contractors
(18 November 2019) Malaysia’s SME Bank announced this week that it has created a US$240 million allocation for local contractors looking to participate in the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). To this end, the bank has inked a memorandum of understanding with the ECRL’s project owner Malaysia Rail Link and primary contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). According to CCCC head Bai Yinzhan, they intend to award at least 40% of the ECRL’s civil works to local constructors. A total of 1,321 local companies have applied to participate in the ECRL’s development so far.
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