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U.S., Cambodian senior officials meet on trade, investment

Xinhua, China

U.S., Cambodian senior officials meet on trade, investment

21 November 2007

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — The United States Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab met with Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh on Wednesday in Cambodia to discuss ways to broaden and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties, said a press release.

Schwab and Prasidh discussed Cambodia’s recent strong economic growth, its domestic reform agenda, and implementation of legal and trade reforms committed to under Cambodia’s 2004 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), said the release from the U.S. Embassy.

"Cambodia is working hard to put the right policies in place to support an open and welcoming environment for trade and investment," said Schwab in the release.

"There has been real progress on the ground. We will continue to work together to build momentum to sustain these reform efforts," Schwab said.

The two officials also reviewed Cambodia’s current efforts to improve trade facilitation, protect intellectual property rights and enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of Cambodia’s investment climate, said the release.

Discussions focused on marking the progress Cambodia is making in meeting the benchmarks for implementation of WTO-consistent trade practices, as well as highlighting areas where additional work remains to be done, it said.

The two countries agreed upon a plan of action under the U.S.-Cambodia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which will add momentum for trade-related reforms within Cambodia, it said.

The two ministers also discussed their mutual interest in a successful conclusion to the WTO Doha negotiations and the instrumental role that Cambodia can play as a least developed country (LDC) in contributing to that outcome, it added.

The visit is the first to the country by a U.S. trade representative and included a bilateral meeting under the TIFA, which was signed in 2006 and is the primary bilateral dialogue between the two governments to discuss implementation of these commitments and other trade and investment related issues.

Total two-way goods trade between the U.S. and Cambodia amounted to 1.95 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of this year and totaled 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2006.

U.S. foreign direct investment in Cambodia is approximately one million U.S. dollars.

Primary U.S. exports include vehicles and machinery and the U.S. is Cambodia’s largest export market. Cambodia’s major exports to the U.S. are knit and woven apparel.

Cambodia joined the WTO in 2004 as a least developed country (LDC) and agreed as part of its accession to implement WTO-consistent trading rules over a five-year transition period.