S. Korea, Cambodia to launch free trade talks in July

South Korea is seeking to launch negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement with Cambodia next month, hoping to increase its economic influence in Southeast Asia, according to top officials Monday.

The announcement comes as Korea has been expanding its economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, amid predictions by experts that the novel coronavirus pandemic will likely accelerate rising trade protectionism, coupled with the diversification of global supply chains from China to Southeast Asia.

Cambodia in recent years has been rising as a key trading partner for Korea. Its exports to Cambodia surged 5.5 percent on-year to $696 million last year, while imports from the country increased 6.8 percent. Textiles and apparel comprise the main trading items.

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