India and Cambodia are in advanced talks to collaborate on Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payments to enhance trade and tourism, according to a statement from the Indian commerce ministry on Thursday. The discussions, held on Wednesday during the second meeting of the India-Cambodia Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment (JWGTI), also focused on expanding the trade basket with new products, establishing a bilateral investment treaty, recognizing the Indian pharmacopeia, and boosting cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector.

The Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, sets standards for all drugs manufactured, sold, and consumed in India. The meeting underscored the progress in ongoing efforts to integrate UPI-based digital payments to facilitate trade and tourism, a collaboration India has successfully implemented with countries like the UAE.

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 the need for deepening bilateral trade and investment ties and emphasized creating mechanisms for cooperation in sectors of mutual interest. The Cambodian delegation presented various investment opportunities for Indian businesses.

This was the first in-person meeting since the JWGTI was institutionalized in July 2022, with the inaugural session held virtually. Cambodia, a member of the ASEAN bloc, has seen bilateral trade with India rise to USD 403.78 million in 2023-24 from USD 366.44 million in 2022-23, with principal exports from India including pharmaceutical products and motor vehicles, while imports mainly comprised chemicals and apparel.

Source: The Economic Times