China-ASEAN economic cooperation brings about fruitful results: Cambodian PM

Photo taken on Sept. 16, 2022, shows the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinhua/Zhou Hua

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Friday that the China-ASEAN economic cooperation has accomplished many fruitful achievements since the two sides signed the ASEAN-China Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in 2002 and other free trade and investment agreements.

In a speech delivered via video link to the opening of the 19th China-ASEAN Expo, Hun Sen said the two sides had successfully implemented the China-ASEAN free trade agreement version 1.0 and 2.0 over past years, and that Cambodia supported upgrading this agreement to the new version 3.0.

He called on China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to pay more attention to further expanding and deepening the scope of their economic cooperation, minimizing barriers to trade in goods, services and investment, and promoting the development of digital economy, green growth and capacity building of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“I am confident that the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), starting this year, will not only create and bring more trade and investment opportunities for countries in the region, but are also significantly contributing to the growth of the above-mentioned sectors,” he said.

He added that the implementation of the RCEP will also become the "core framework" for building version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN free trade area in the future.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian leader expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government for its always giving high priorities to supporting the development and prosperity of ASEAN.

“As the chair of ASEAN for 2022, Cambodia will continue making efforts in further strengthening ASEAN's cooperation with the People's Republic of China to ensure the sustainability, inclusiveness, and resiliency of socioeconomic development in both regions,” Hun Sen said.

The 19th China-ASEAN Expo is being held online and offline in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, from Sept. 16 to 19.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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