China-ASEAN Monitor: Cambodia to sign FTA with China to boost agro exports
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Cambodia to sign FTA with China to boost agro exports
(10 July 2020) Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to be in Beijing on 12 August to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with his Chinese counterpart. The FTA is expected to usher in an enhanced level of economic cooperation between the two countries, deemed especially important to Cambodia. Officials recently said that negotiations will hinge on agricultural trade and build on Cambodia’s existing trade with China. Hean Vanhan, the secretary of state of the Agriculture Ministry who took part in the FTA negotiations, said a number of products will be on a tariff-free list and will be reviewed periodically. For now, he said, rice, bananas, and mangoes will be on the list. A critical aspect to the FTA will be whether it can offset losses from the partial suspension of the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade benefits to Europe. Hean said the FTA would be able to limit damage from the suspension of EU privileges but did not elaborate on how.
Myanmar, China to enhance cross-border e-commerce systems
(13 July 2020) Myanmar and China plan to promote cooperation on digital economy and cross-border e-commerce systems to allow trade and economic activity to proceed smoothly during the times of pandemic. According to a press release from the Chinese Embassy, Yunnan province will provide the training for cross-border e-commerce operators from Mandalay region to help export agricultural products such as rice, beef, bananas and pineapples to Yunnan, or to China’s domestic market through Yunnan. In Myanmar, some Chinese online shopping platforms, such as the eMyan online platform, owned by Tradelink Corporate, a Chinese company based in Jiegao of Ruili, have already grabbed online shopping market share in major cities.
Vietnam initiates anti-dumping investigation on corn syrup from China and South Korea
(10 July 2020) Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has decided to initiate an anti-dumping investigation on high-fructose corn syrup originating from China and South Korea. Under the established regulations on trade remedies, the ministry would send questionnaires to related parties to collect information for analysis and evaluation of the alleged claims, including harm caused to Vietnam’s sugar industry. If required, the ministry would consider the imposition of temporary anti-dumping measures to prevent the dumping from continuing to cause damage to the domestic industry. The petition was lodged by six refined Vietnamese sugar companies, which together, account for 54.94% of the total domestic output of corn syrup. They have proposed the imposition of a 36.09% tariff on products from China and 40.02% on products from South Korea. Vietnam’s sugar industry has faced difficulties in recent years, partially due to sugar smuggling.
Vietnam PM allows resumption of Vietnam-China flights
(13 July 2020) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allowed the resumption of flights between Vietnam and China, according to an announcement made by the Government Office on 13 July. The frequency and conditions for passenger transport will be discussed and decided by the relevant authorities of the two countries. Phuc said that the demand for entry into Vietnam by overseas Vietnamese people, foreign investors, experts, and students have remained high and the government will, therefore, try to satisfy the demand according to priority and domestic quarantine capacity. Quick COVID-19 tests and appropriate quarantine measures will be applied to different types of entrants. Vietnam has conducted 40 repatriation flights since 21 April, bringing home 10,996 citizens who were stranded abroad due to the pandemic.
Myanmar allows entry to Chinese business travellers under new scheme
(13 July 2020) Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General Aung Kyaw Zan told a local news outlet that they plan to allow Chinese travellers who wished to enter Myanmar for urgent business matters under a special scheme. The “Fast Track” scheme will allow entry to foreign travellers via relief flights, special flights and chartered flights. According to Deputy Director-General of Consul Services and Legal Affairs Aung Kyaw Zan, under the normal quarantine programme and entry, travellers have to spend many days in quarantine but the “Fast Track” scheme will not require such a long quarantine period and will be relatively hassle-free. The Myanmar embassy in Beijing issued an advisory which said that Chinese travellers who wish to visit Myanmar under the “Fast Track” scheme can apply for visas. The “Fast Track” scheme will be expanded to other countries as well.