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Cambodia-Bangladesh FTA reflects better bilateral ties

Tilottoma Rani Charulata
30 Sep 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 29 Sep 2022 22:42:11
Cambodia-Bangladesh FTA reflects better bilateral ties

It is encouraging to learn that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Cambodia will be signed to increase trade between the two Asian nations.

Building better international relationships will be even more crucial as Bangladesh moves closer to transitioning from a least developed country (LDC) to a full-fledged middle-income economy because many of the benefits and privileges we received as an LDC would no longer be applicable.

As a result, it has been gratifying to see that the relevant authorities are demonstrating the appropriate intent in order to improve relations with other economies and maintain the momentum we have been experiencing recently.

Both have a lot in common with Bangladesh and Cambodia, from their food habits to how vulnerable they are to climate change. Both nations, which are currently categorized as LDCs, also want to advance to middle-income economies.

As a result, improving relations can only benefit both countries; in addition to the FTA, which will undoubtedly be advantageous, the two should look into other areas where cooperation and information sharing will be advantageous to both.

It was comforting to hear Prime Minister Hun Sen promise that every attempt will be made to find a solution to the Rohingya problem, nevertheless. Such remarks from the Asean chair give some reason to believe that the international community may not remain entirely silent when it comes to resolving the Rohingya crisis. The ASEAN Chairperson, Hun Sen, reassured the Prime Minister of Bangladesh that Cambodia will continue to make all efforts to address the Rohingya issue.

As stated by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh must ultimately uphold the tenet of “friendliness towards all, hate towards none.” This idea is what will keep our country growing and moving forward.

They agreed to do it during a private meeting that took place between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen on Thursday night in New York, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen revealed to reporters as he updated them on the activities of the premier outside the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The premier of Cambodia indicated interest in establishing a contract for rice exports from Cambodia to Bangladesh. He also encouraged Bangladesh to contribute to the development of Cambodia’s physical infrastructure and agricultural sector.

Through Myanmar and Thailand, it is simple to export goods from Bangladesh such as medicines, agricultural products, clothing, footwear, and leather goods, knitwear, pharmaceuticals, tableware, home textiles, textiles, seafood and marine products, tea, potatoes, jute and jute products, light engineering products, spices, cosmetics, and ceramics to Cambodia. However, Cambodia’s biggest exports to Bangladesh are cotton, edible oil, fertilizer, cleaner, staple fiber, yarn, etc.

Cambodia and Bangladesh collaborate in a number of fields, according to reports in Bangladeshi media. The two nations agreed to create a joint committee in 2014 to look into potential new areas of cooperation and to deepen already existing cooperation in a number of sectors.

A long-term land-cultivation arrangement has been offered by Bangladesh for firms run by citizens of that country in Cambodia. Cambodia and Bangladesh are eager to establish a long-term rice import arrangement. Bangladesh Agricultural University has given scholarships to Cambodian students. The two nations collaborate on agricultural research. An agreement for scientific and technology cooperation in the agricultural sector was signed by Cambodia and Bangladesh in 2014.

The government is currently attempting to get these products access to duty-free markets for export. In terms of boosting regional trade, Cambodia is taking on more significance. Various official activities will result in improved trade ties between Bangladesh and that nation. By preserving cordial ties between Bangladesh and Cambodia, the government is playing a significant part in boosting commerce and investment.

Bangladesh’s Commerce Ministry reports that in the most recent fiscal year, Bangladesh purchased $0.4 million worth of commodities and exported $5.39 million worth of goods to Cambodia. The Bangladeshi government is considering raising it even more. In addition, the government is considering offering a range of incentives to attract investment to Cambodia.

During her visit to Cambodia in 2014, 10 MoUs were signed to strengthen the country’s cultural and economic links. Ten documents, including nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs), have been signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia in order to increase trade and investment between the two nations. The agreements were inked in an effort to improve collaboration across a number of industries, including tourism, agriculture, civil aviation, ICT, and technical education.

Exchange of knowledge in the fields of tourism, Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy, fighting cybercrime, exporting human resources, using Cambodia’s arable lands, and investing in the apparel industry are some potential areas for both parties. Agriculture, including paddy cultivation and freshwater fish farming, is another area of potential exchange between the two nations. The ties can be strengthened through increasing institutional collaboration in the area of education for technical training and skill development.

Cambodia might gain by importing top-notch medications from Bangladesh in addition to benefiting from the training of Cambodian students, workers, and technicians in Bangladesh. The relationship between Bangladesh and Cambodia has always been considered seriously. Bangladesh makes competent electronics. Electronics from Bangladesh are currently available in Nepal. In order to meet the needs of its citizens, Cambodia can import these.

Hun Sen, the prime minister of Cambodia, lauded Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in leading Bangladesh through its digital transformation and stressed the importance of boosting trade and broadening the scope of business between the two nations. He indicated a desire to boost bilateral trade.

Trade on both sides can strengthen ties. Some extremely promising areas include bilateral commerce and investment, agriculture and fisheries, research and technology, culture, defense, ICT, tourism, and parliamentary friendship. Sheikh Hasina is eager to fortify ties with other South East Asian nations. She has a keen interest in Bangladesh’s “Economy Diplomacy.”

Many Bangladeshi items have great potential in the Cambodian market. On the other hand, Bangladesh offers enormous potential for Cambodian goods.

In 2016, there was only $5.57 million in bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Cambodia, with $5 million in exports and $0.57 million in imports. With the exception of 2016, Cambodia’s exports to Bangladesh have increased steadily over the past five years.

The potential to increase trade between the two nations is enormous. Opportunities exist to promote tourism centered on the Ganges-Mekong valley and to increase collaboration in the fields of education and culture.


The writer is an independent researcher. He can be contacted at [email protected]