Hun Sen Returns With Russian Trade Deals

Prime Minister Hun Sen and a delegation of senior government officials returned from Russia on Saturday, having signed eight new agreements with Moscow, pushed for increased trade ties and agreed to review all bilateral agreements signed in the past six decades.

Kao Kim Hourn, a delegate minister in Mr. Hun Sen’s administration, briefed reporters on the five-day trip, which included an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and participation in the Asean-Russia Summit in Sochi.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony at the Russia-Asean summit in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony at the Russia-Asean summit in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. (Reuters)

“Russia agreed to buy agricultural products from Cambodia such as rice, fruits and others because there is demand in his country,” Mr. Kim Hourn said at Phnom Penh International Airport, referring to a meeting between Mr. Hun Sen and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“Furthermore, Samdech Prime Minister [Hun Sen] requested that Russia open its market, particularly by importing goods from Cambodia without imposing taxes and without setting a number—that refers to not setting a quota,” he said.

Mr. Kim Hourn did not give specifics about the trade proposals, but noted that the two countries already had a bilateral working group to discuss the matter. Trade between Cambodia and Russia amounted to $110.7 million worth of goods last year, according to Russian figures.

The delegate minister said Mr. Medvedev was also supportive of Cambodia’s efforts to engage with the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), which he described as a new channel to open markets for Cambodian exports.

Mr. Hun Sen met with Tigran Sargsyan, chairman of the EEU, on Wednesday and signed a cooperation agreement.

In his meeting with Mr. Putin on Thursday, Mr. Hun Sen continued to lobby for an increase in two-way trade and also invited the Russian premier to visit Cambodia “in the proper time in the future,” he said.

Mr. Kim Hourn said the two governments agreed to review all bilateral agreements signed since 1956 but did not specify which agreements might be altered in the review. Russian news agency TASS said Cambodia’s $1.52 billion debt to Russia was on the agenda during the meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Hun Sen.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan referred questions about the agreements to Foreign Affairs Ministry officials, who could not be reached on Sunday.

sothear@cambodiadaily.com

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