China and Cambodia signed a free trade agreement this week that accelerated economic relations. The agreement includes bilateral economic and trade cooperation for many industries.
Apart from the reduction of tariffs on the importation and exportation of goods, the agreement outlined initiatives that cover a wide range of sectors. These include tourism, transportation, investment, technology, e-commerce, agriculture and trade.
The China-Cambodia FTA is among the most liberal - giving businesses on both sides more access. Tariffs on 97.5% of Cambodia's exports to China were eliminated. Meanwhile, up to 90% of China's exports to Cambodia is no longer subject to duties.
The agreement was the culmination of three rounds of intensive talks and negotiations as part of China's efforts to strengthen its economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
China has enhanced its economic bonds with its ASEAN neighbors, effectively becoming one of its largest trading partners. From the start of the year up to the end of August trade between China and ASEAN had reportedly reached more than $416.5 billion.
The Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation noted that the new FTA signed with Cambodia could lead to further agreements and enhanced deals with other ASEAN member states.
"With its high level of liberalization on trade and market access, the FTA can serve as a good reference to follow when China and other ASEAN member states are trying to seek further economic and trade cooperation," the agency noted in a statement.
Cambodia's commerce minister, Pan Sorasak, told reporters in an interview that the agreement was a huge deal for the country and its economy because it would give it "greater market access" to China. He added that the deal should also allow the country to diversify its products and reduce its overreliance on other foreign markets.