Cambodia, UK foreign ministries sign MoU

Cambodia and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of bilateral political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries.

“The two heads of delegations from Cambodia and the United Kingdom signed the Memorandum of Understanding, on the establishment of bilateral political consultations between the two foreign ministries,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement yesterday.

The statement was issued after the first round of the bilateral consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom was held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting was co-chaired by Chem Widhya, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Dominic Williams, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Cambodia.

Widhya and Williams agreed to work hand-in-hand to further strengthen and expand new potential areas for future cooperation. They pledged to have more exchange of visits and continue regular consultations and dialogue between the two countries.

Widhya and Williams also exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of common concern. They agreed that the bilateral political consultations mechanism is essential to promote cooperation between the two countries.

They looked forward to holding the second session of the bilateral consultation to be held in London next year.

Widhya expressed his deep appreciation to the United Kingdom for its invaluable assistance to Cambodia over the years, which has significantly contributed to the socio-economic development of Cambodia, especially the assistance in education, health, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and demining activities.

He also briefed Williams on the latest political situation and economic development in Cambodia, in particular the National Election, the Six Priorities Programme and Pentagonal Strategy of the new government of Cambodia.

Williams applauded Cambodia’s remarkable progress and achievements and reiterated the United Kingdom’s strong commitment to continue enhancing cooperation both at bilateral and multilateral frameworks between the two countries.

According to a British Embassy in Cambodia statement yesterday, Richard Heppel presented his credentials as the first resident British Ambassador to Cambodia to the late King Norodom Sihanouk in October 1953.

“We are delighted to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations today by holding the first round of bilateral political consultations with Chem Widya,” it said.

“Building on our Human Rights dialogues held in 2021 to 2022, the discussions spanned a range of topics, including domestic, regional and global affairs, multi-lateral relations and development cooperation,” the embassy said.

“We look forward to strengthening our bilateral relationship and to working with a range of Cambodian partners to improve ties between our peoples,” the statement said.

The bilateral trade between Cambodia and the United Kingdom declined by 14% during the first eight months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to the latest data released by the Ministry of Commerce.

The trade between the two nations reached $589 million during the period and the United Kingdom has emerged as the tenth largest trading partner of Cambodia and the second within Europe, signalling the success of trade diversification strategies.

According to the ministry, the total bilateral trade almost doubled last year when compared to the 2012 numbers. “Cambodia’s exports accounted for 90% of the bilateral trade from January 2023 to August 2023.” The Kingdom’s exports have received preferential tariff treatment from the UK Government under two frameworks: The Generalised System of Preferences under the World Trade Organisation Framework and Comprehensive Preferences under the Developing Countries Trading Scheme.

According to the World Bank, the Kingdom’s top 10 trading partners are the UK, US, China, Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Canada, and Hong Kong.

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