China, Cambodia Reach Agreement on Consular Services

Cambodia and China have reached an agreement to expand the coverage of services offered by the consulates of both countries in order to facilitate the growing trade links between the two nations, officials said yesterday, adding the agreement has yet to be officially ratified.

A statement from the Council of Ministers from Friday said the Council had approved a draft of the Cambodia-China Consular Convention, which covered consular matters such as issuing birth, marriage and death certificates, notarization and legalization of documents, inheritance matters, and paperwork required for ship and airplane freight.

“The draft convention is a bilateral legal formal document to protect the rights and interests of both countries’ citizens,” the statement said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the new agreement was necessary in light of the growing trade between the two countries. “Cambodia and China have an increasing amount of trade, so we need to increase consular treaties,” he said, adding, “The government is going to send [the draft agreement] to the National Assembly for ratification.”

Mr Siphan said the agreement would allow for more services for “private and commercial matters” at the countries’ respective consulates

Qian Hai, second secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, said the agreement would expand coverage of “what consulates can do” and also further improve bilateral relations.

“Before we already have agreements on these issues. This agreement will be more comprehensive,” he said, adding, the convention was about “how we can use our consulate protection for the people’s exchange.”

“We don’t know when it will be signed…. Now we agree on the wording” of the agreement, he said, adding, “We hope as soon as possible. It will improve our bilateral relations.”

Since 2008, China has been Cambodia’s biggest foreign investor, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, where the Cambodian Investment Board approved $339 million of Chinese investment in Cambodia in the first three quarters of 2009.


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