By 2019, the European Union had been China's top trade partner for 16 consecutive years, with a total trade volume exceeding 700 billion U.S. dollars for the first time last year, he said.
The shipment includes 368,300 masks and 94.9 tonnes of melt-blown non-woven fabric, an essential material for manufacturing medical masks.
"The lab was equipped and established by a donation from the Chinese government at a critical time," Mahdi said. "When this lab was established, Iraq had only one working lab fighting COVID-19."
China rejects any attempt to create so-called "new Cold War": FM
"Projects linked to the BRI such as the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) and the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway are two ideal examples to show how BRI helps Cambodia in strengthening industrial sector and diversifying exports through transport and logistics enhancement," he said.
Nearly 70 percent of the surveyed U.S. companies were optimistic about the commercial prospects of the Chinese market, and 87 percent of the companies reported no plans to shift production out of China, according to the survey.
"We still need to increase testing abilities," Mahdi said. "The testing rate needs to be at least five or ten percent of our 40 million population in order to detect more and more cases."
The minister said the upcoming signing of the bilateral FTA will undeniably stimulate the speed of Cambodia's infrastructure development projects, including those under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
"These have been the sources of China's economic boom and Cambodia is using China as a role model in our economic development as well," he said.
Maggiorelli, a professor of political science at Bogota's Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, said that China's prudence was evident in recent statements by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who rejected any attempt to start a "new Cold War" that would destabilize both nations and risk global progress.
"China has shown its interest in cooperating with other countries in the development of a vaccine against the new coronavirus, even announcing that it will make its vaccines a public good with universal access," he said.