Eighth EU-Cambodia Joint Committee Concludes In Brussels

The 8th EU-Cambodia Joint Committee was held in Brussels on Thursday, preceded by the subgroups on development cooperation, on trade and on institution building, administrative reform, legal and judicial reform, governance and human rights, the European bloc said in a press release.

The Joint Committee was co-chaired by Ouch Borith, Secretary of State at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and by Ugo Astuto, Director for South and Southeast Asia at the European External Action Service.

The two sides exchanged views on Cambodia's reform agenda and priorities in the post-electoral context, emphasizing reforms in the election process, governance and the respect for Human Rights as key drivers for Cambodia's democratic development.

Borith stressed that through Cambodia-EU Cooperation Agreement the EU has provided substantial assistance to Cambodia covering several sectors.

In response, Director Astuto said: "The EU has always been at the forefront to promote Cambodia's recovery and development. This 8th Joint Committee was an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our strong support for a democratic, prosperous and sustainable Cambodia."

The sub-group meet on "Trade and Investment," held on 10 March, noted the increase in bilateral trade, in particular Cambodia's export performance, with the EU now becoming the primary destination of Cambodian exports.

The two sides discussed in detail the trade regime "Everything But Arms," which grants preferences to Cambodia as a least developed country, as well as a number of other bilateral, regional or multilateral issues. The EU being a major donor of trade related assistance, both sides agreed to continue working together towards improving Cambodia's business and investment climate.

In the sub-group discussion on "Development cooperation," both sides took stock of ongoing bilateral, thematic and regional cooperation activities, Cambodia's and the EU's future policy agenda and planning. This was especially significant in the context of the programming of EU development cooperation for 2014-2020 in Cambodia.

Dialogue in the sub-group on "Institution Building, Administrative Reform, Legal Reform, Governance and Human Rights" was focused on concrete cooperation in the protection and promotion of Human Rights, including the abolition of death penalty.

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