PHNOM PENH, March 22 (Xinhua) -- China is an enormous market for Cambodia and other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said here on Wednesday.
Cambodia and the rest of ASEAN have stood to gain from the Chinese market through the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the prime minister said.
"China is a huge market that has provided a lot of benefits to all ASEAN countries," he said in a speech during a graduation ceremony of some 4,700 students at the Vanda Institute in Phnom Penh, adding that ASEAN's export to China is bigger than the export in a reverse direction.
Hun Sen said Cambodia and other ASEAN countries also expect a huge influx of Chinese tourists after the world's second-largest economy optimized its anti-COVID-19 strategy and resumed outbound group tours earlier this year.
Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN for more than a decade and that China-ASEAN ties have brought about economic, social, technological, and infrastructural development to the region.
"The ASEAN's economic future is connected with the Chinese economic outlook and growth," he told Xinhua. "China will remain a key contributor to the ASEAN's economic growth and prosperity in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era."
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.