September 1, 2011

U.S.-Cambodia looking for investment possibilities to boost economic ties


PHNOM PENH -- A group of U.S. investors from the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council on Thursday visited Cambodia to observe investment opportunities and to boost trade and investment ties between U.S. and ASEAN member countries.

The group consisted of 11 U.S. firms led by Frances Zwenig, the Counselor of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.

During a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday afternoon, Frances Zwenig said the firms were in the businesses of oil and gas, manufacturing industries, automobile, financial industry, technologies, telecommunications and health.

"The visit will be a good opportunity for the U.S. investors to learn about Cambodia's potentials and it will also build stronger economic and trade relations between the U.S. and ASEAN member countries," she said.

During the first half of this year, the Council for the Development of Cambodia had reported that the U.S. investment projects in Cambodia was 142 million U.S. dollars, compared to the only 34.5 million U.S. dollars at the same period last year.

On the trade side, the two countries' bilateral trade was around one billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, mostly Cambodia's garment exports to the United States, according to the record of the Commerce Ministry.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen said Cambodia's economic growth was currently supported by garment industry, tourism, agriculture and real estate, and the government had been encouraging foreign investors to put their ventures in extractive industries including mining, oil and gas in order to boost the economic growth.

The premier also asked the U.S. investors to consider investing in agriculture by setting up processing plants of rice, corn, cassava and rubber.

Earlier in the day, the delegation met with the Minister of Finance Keat Chhon.

The delegation's visit to Cambodia was made just two weeks after the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) and Cambodia Chamber of Commerce inked deal on trade loan guarantees to boost trade between the two countries.

Under the agreement, Exim Bank will provide loan guarantees to underwrite the risk of nonpayment of medium- and long-term loans extended by commercial banks to Cambodian buyers of U.S. goods and services.

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