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Cambodia Eyes APEC Membership

Ministry of Foreign Affairs' under secretary, Khieu Thavika tells VOA on Tuesday, that Cambodia is anticipating its entry into the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, in order to participate in regional trade developments.

“Cambodia is ready, and a number of ASEAN countries, including Vietnam will support our candidacy”, Khieu Thavika said.

A majority of other Cambodians share similar optimism to the country entering APEC, through which they hope to benefit from technical aid, labor opportunities, and trade relations from Asia’s big economic players. APEC members account for nearly half of all global trade.

APEC consists of 21 Pacific Rim countries that meet every year, with the purpose of improving economic and political ties with its members.

The 21-member organization, including Cambodia’s larger neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, are currently meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam for a week-long summit aimed at breaking a global trade impasse and improving its regional security.

Kan Chadaroth, a prominent economist in Cambodia states that “it will be easier for Cambodia to join APEC than WTO, which imposes tougher regulations”.

Cambodia became the 148th member of the WTO on 13 October 2004.

However, a member of the opposition party and civil society official disagrees, and said that Cambodia needs to first improve its effort to tackle corruption by adopting and enforcing anti-corruption laws.

These recommendations stem from recent findings, released by Transparency International- a prominent anti-corruption watchdog that has been conducting annual corruption surveys for the past 11 years.

The study-group found Cambodia to be the second most corrupt country in Asia, and ranked the country at 151 out of 163 corrupt nations.