Experts said the deal will open a wealth of new market opportunities for Cambodia to diversify its export portfolio and accelerate the inflow of regional investments.
Sorasak attended the 11th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held via video link last week. He said all ASEAN ministers present at the meeting acknowledged the strides made towards the RCEP.
“Ministers of ASEAN highly evaluate the efforts of the trade negotiations committee and legal affairs working group which completed their works as planned despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sorasak was cited by The Phnom Penh Post as saying.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak said RCEP is a platform for ASEAN that was years in the making.
“Cambodia now is not like it used to be. We have a wide selection of agricultural products on offer in addition to garments and textiles. Moreover, it has much more room to entice more regional investment to re-export to other countries that are partners of ASEAN,” Vanak said.
Fifteen countries – with the notable exception of India which withdrew in November last year – will sign the deal. The members have not yet been able to respond to India’s concerns regarding its trade deficit with many of them, according to Thailand’s The Nation.
Besides the 10 ASEAN member states, the other five partners are China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.