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New deals to enhance commercial ties with Cambodia

By Zhong Nan and Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-29 10:22
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Angkor Wat in Cambodia. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The nation will enhance economic ties with Cambodia in areas including transportation infrastructure, tourism, e-commerce and trade in agricultural products to generate new growth momentum, said the Ministry of Commerce.

The two countries signed a number of agreements earlier this month including a deal in which China will help Cambodia improve the kingdom's educational sector, a $2.5 million cash transfer agreement to assist Cambodia's mine clearance projects and a restoration project at Angkor Wat, the country's top tourist destination.

The two governments also held the first meeting of the China-Cambodia e-commerce working group and a partnership mechanism between the two sides.

Gao Yan, vice-minister of commerce, said China will expand import channels from Cambodia and encourage Chinese companies to invest in Cambodia's transport, energy and infrastructure development. China also invited Cambodian companies to participate in the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November.

"China and Cambodia will firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism, and prevent such practices from impacting the regional economy, and develop the markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as work together to accelerate the negotiating pace to promote the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership," she said during the fifth meeting of the China-Cambodia Joint Economic and Trade committee.

Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo said: "Under the B&R Initiative, there is a growing number of Chinese investors going to Cambodia, and they are making considerable contribution to the Cambodian economy."

Bilateral trade volume between China and Cambodia amounted to $5.8 billion in 2017, up 22 percent year-on-year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

China remains the country's largest source for foreign direct investment. The country had invested $12.6 billion in Cambodia by the end of 2017. Chinese companies had created more than 20,000 jobs mainly in manufacturing, infrastructure, energy and service sectors for local communities.

In the energy sector, the kingdom has seven hydropower plants that can produce a total of 1,328 megawatts of electricity, accounting for 58 percent of the local electricity demand last year.

All of the projects were invested by China, and four of them with a combined capacity of 1,002 megawatts came online between 2013 and 2017. With China's support, the country also runs two coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 500 megawatts.

Eager to enhance development, Cambodia began construction of China-funded national road No 11, which connects the provinces of Prey Veng and Tboung Khmum in the south of the country, in March.

The 96.4-kilometer national road, including two bypasses, is being built by the China Road and Bridge Corp at a cost of $94.1 million, a concessional loan from the Chinese government.

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