PHNOM PENH, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The National Assembly of Cambodia on Thursday ratified the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the Southeast Asian nation and China.
Ninety-two lawmakers, who were present during the parliamentary session, unanimously adopted the pact, which will be next reviewed by the Senate before being submitted to King Norodom Sihamoni for endorsement.
"The agreement will facilitate trade in goods between the two countries through reducing and eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers," he told the parliament. "It will also facilitate, protect, promote and attract investment."
The pact will further strengthen bilateral cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the minister said, adding that it will enter into force 30 days after both countries have exchanged their ratification instrument through a diplomatic channel.
Senior lawmaker Nin Saphon said Cambodia saw China as a huge market for its products and that the deal would provide greater market access to Cambodia's goods.
"The deal will contribute to boosting Cambodia's economic growth, attracting new investment and further improving the living conditions of the Cambodian people," she said.
Seang Thay, a spokesman for Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce, said the agreement would undoubtedly be a new driving force to accelerate Cambodia's trade and investment volumes with China during the post-COVID-19 era.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, trade volume between the two countries was valued at almost 5 billion U.S. dollars during the first six months of 2021, up 31 percent year-on-year, according to a Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's report.