‘No Rush’ For Cambodia on Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, Experts Say

Two ambitious trade negotiations are moving forward in the Asia Pacific, but Cambodia should first pursue a regional partnership before joining in with all of the Asia Pacific, trade experts say. Cambodia should build momentum on the existing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an Asean-driven agreement, before considering the US-supported Trans-Pacific Partnership, experts say. … Mel Kalyan, a senior adviser to the government’s Supreme National Economic Council, said that several countries in Southeast Asia are looking to join in the TPP. “So we should also be ambitious and should not put all our fish in one basket,” he said. “We should diversify our trading partners, but at the moment, joining the TPP is beyond Cambodia’s reach, so we should enhance our competitiveness in the RCEP first.” To do that, Cambodia will need a stronger export capacity and better human resources that can contribute to production, Chheang Vannarith said. That could mean moving from a labor-intensive economy to one that is more knowledge based, he said.

Khoun Theara