Cargo planes then landed in Cambodia on Friday, a day ahead of the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which is expected to boost long-term air cargo growth, a declared the cargo supervisor of an airport.
One of the cargo planes that landed at Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday afternoon was K-Mile Air flight 8K802 from Bangkok, Thailand. The plane was carrying clothing and general merchandise.
Ros Rotha, cargo supervisor at Phnom Penh International Airport, said the airport currently hosts more than 50 cargo flights per week from different countries and regions.
The main products transported by air are clothing, spare parts for electronics and machinery, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, new cars and valuables such as gold, diamonds, jewelry, cell phones and watches, he said.
“Freight operations have been crucial in the midst of this difficult time, in fact for the past 20 months or so since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told Xinhua. “Our airport teams are very proud to be part of the national effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by handling vaccine deliveries and also taking care of inbound and outbound essential goods. “
Rotha said that thanks to the cargoes, the airport has remained afloat as passenger traffic has been hit hard due to the pandemic.
The airport reported a 29.5% increase in cargo volume and a 98% decrease in passenger numbers between January and November. 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, he said, adding that however, compared to 2019, the year before the crisis, freight traffic was still down by almost 20%.
“Because the RCEP free trade agreement simplifies the process and reduces customs fees, we are happy to see this agreement come into force and are confident that it will also help increase air freight,” he said. declared.
Signed on November 15, 2020, the RCEP is a mega free trade pact between 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and its partners in the ‘FTA, namely China. , Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement will eliminate up to 90% of tariffs on goods traded between its signatories over the next 20 years.
Song Saran, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said RCEP will facilitate trade in goods in the region and all participating countries will benefit to varying degrees.
“It is the largest free trade area in the world. For me, there is no doubt that it will be a driving force for global and regional economic growth in the post-pandemic era, ”he told Xinhua.
“The agreement provides greater market access for Cambodian products, and I believe it will attract more foreign investors to invest in various sectors, including the rice industry, in order to export products. finished to these RCEP countries, with tariff concessions, “he said. noted.
He said that when the big investors come to Cambodia, they will bring new capital and sophisticated technologies, which are essential for the development of the Cambodian economy.
Saran, who is also managing director of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co., Ltd., said his company currently exports milled rice to China, Singapore and Australia. As part of RCEP, he hopes to expand his business to other countries in the future.
Covering a region with a combined GDP of US $ 26.2 trillion, or roughly 30% of global GDP, the RCEP Agreement is an unprecedented, modern, comprehensive, high-quality, reciprocal mega-regional trade agreement that takes into account interests, terms and conditions as broad as possible. priorities of different countries.
Under Secretary of State and Cambodian Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Penn Sovicheat said RCEP would facilitate trade and diversify exports of Cambodian products, especially agricultural products, to RCEP participating countries.
“RCEP is seen as a victory for multilateralism and free trade and it will become the essential foundation for trade and investment in the region,” he told Xinhua.
Under the RCEP, Cambodia’s annual exports are expected to rise from 9.4% to 18%, contributing to economic growth from 2% to 3.8%, he said, adding that this will increase. annual employment opportunities from 3.2% to 6.2%, and tax revenues from 2% to 3.9%. Xinhua