India and Cambodia Explore Digital Payments and Investment in Trade Talks
India and Cambodia Explore Digital Payments and Investment in Trade Talks

New Delhi: India and Cambodia are in discussions to enhance collaboration in UPI-based digital payments to boost trade and tourism, announced the commerce ministry on Thursday. The talks also covered expanding the range of traded products, negotiating a bilateral investment treaty, and recognizing Indian pharmacopoeia, as well as cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector.

These topics were addressed during the second meeting of the India-Cambodia Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment (JWGTI) held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Pharmacopoeia refers to a set of standards and quality criteria for ingredients, preparation methods, and dosage forms of medicines used and exported in a country. The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, sets these standards for drugs manufactured, sold, and consumed in India.

According to a statement, "The meeting reviewed progress in the ongoing efforts for collaboration in Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based digital payments to promote trade and tourism." India has previously collaborated with the UAE on UPI.

The meeting was co-chaired by Siddharth Mahajan, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce, and Long Kemvichet, Director General for International Trade in the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.

Mahajan highlighted measures to deepen bilateral trade and investment and underscored the need for cooperation and collaboration in mutually beneficial sectors. The Cambodian side showcased several investment opportunities available for Indian businesses.

The JWGTI was first held virtually in July 2022 and this recent meeting marked its first physical session since its institutionalization.

Cambodia is a member of the ASEAN bloc, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. India has had a free trade agreement with ASEAN since 2009.

Bilateral trade between India and Cambodia increased to USD 403.78 million (exports USD 185.39 million and imports USD 218.4 million) in 2023-24 from USD 366.44 million in 2022-23.

Key Indian exports to Cambodia include pharmaceutical products, bovine meat, motor vehicles (autos, motorcycles, and spare parts), raw hides and leather, and chemicals. Key imports include chemicals, vegetable oil, articles of apparel and clothing, and footwear.

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