"I am very excited to visit such a dynamic Least Developed Country on my first visit to Asia", Dr. Kituyi said. "We will be building on strong foundations in our future work", he added.
During meetings in Phnom Penh, Dr. Kituyi and Cambodian government leaders agreed to develop existing collaboration and explore new partnerships. Among possible areas of cooperation are assistance in diversifying Cambodian exports, a strategy for "branding" Cambodian products, including through the use of geographical indications, and joint support for the establishment of a research and training institute on trade and development issues.
Such initiatives would continue the close ties developed during and after Cambodia's accession to the World Trade Organization a decade ago. UNCTAD provides advice and support to help the country take advantage of opportunities stemming from preferential trading schemes and reforms of rules of origin in export markets, such as the European Union. Cambodia also takes part in UNCTAD's programmes to promote automated customs procedures (ASYCUDA) and effective debt management (DMFAS).
From left: H.E. Mr. Samdach Techno HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Cambodia and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Discussions on prospective collaboration took place during Dr. Kituyi's 20-21 March visit to Cambodia, where the UNCTAD Secretary-General met the Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen; Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Chhun Keat; Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Mr. Chanthol Sun; as well as other government ministers.
The visit followed an invitation extended by Minister Sun at the WTO ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in December.
"I am pleased to reaffirm our partnership with Cambodia as it undertakes major reforms in trade and economic governance", Dr. Kituyi said. "I also appreciate the Government's recognition of UNCTAD's support for the goal of Cambodia's graduation from LDC status", he added.
In October 2013, at the request of Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce, UNCTAD held a sensitization workshop on policies and strategies linked to the country's eventual graduation from the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Cambodia and UNCTAD plan to pursue talks to collaborate in setting up a research and training institute that would build capacity and expertise in trade and development issues among Cambodian officials and civil society.
Work is also planned in a number of fields linked to Cambodia's exports, which have grown strongly as a proportion of gross domestic product in recent years.