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Cambodian PM: We Do Not Want Our People to Remain Poor and Wait For EU

Brussels: ASEAN Chair 2022 Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has stressed the importance of the ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement, which has brought many benefits to the economies of the two regions. The prime minister also urged that this agreement be reached as soon as possible.

Speaking at a press conference at the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations in Brussels on December 14, 2022, Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “that many ASEAN countries are poor while Europe is rich and progress has been made, but ASEAN is not the only place to receive European aid”.

“It is in this situation that ASEAN and Europe have agreed to establish a free trade agreement," he said. "We really do not want our people to remain poor and wait for EU favours. We want a real free trade agreement.”

EU Council President Charles MICHEL says the 27-nation European Union has agreed to push for a free trade agreement with ASEAN, but needs more time to debate and find a way, in line with Europe's goal to reduce climate change and pay attention to the situation of workers.

“It's very good that we demonstrated," he said. "It’s possible we some of the ASEAN countries to have free trade agreement and we can observe that this is very positive on both side.”

According to the Australian Office of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are treaties between two or more countries designed to reduce or eliminate certain barriers to trade and investment, and to facilitate stronger trade and commercial ties between participating countries. FTA contributes to greater economic activity and job creation and delivers opportunities for big and small businesses to benefit from greater trade and investment.

Free trade agreements don't just reduce and eliminate tariffs, they also help address behind-the-border barriers that would otherwise impede the flow of goods and services; encourage investment; and improve the rules affecting such issues as intellectual property, e-commerce and government procurement.

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