The United States and Cambodia have agreed to begin discussions on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in a bid to spur trade and investment between the two countries, officials said on Friday following the end of the ASEAN-US Business Summit in Siem Reap.
“A bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Cambodia would encourage investment by improving investment climates, promoting market-based economic reforms, and strengthening the rule of law,” said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk . “Our decision to explore this possibility highlights progress made by Cambodia in fostering a policy environment that treats private investment in an open, transparent, and non-discriminatory way.”
Preliminary conversations between the US and Cambodia will be used to established similarities with further discussions highlighting possible approaches for the treaty, according to US Embassy Spokesman Sean McIntosh.
“Initially, the United States and Cambodia will discuss our respective investment policies broadly to determine key similarities and differences. Subsequent discussions would involve experts meeting to share approaches and have further talks based on the US model text,” he said in an email.
Cham Prasidh during the summit acknowledged that the United States is Cambodia’s main trading partner, saying that the Kingdom would unequivocally be seeking more investment and trade with the US.
“Now is the right time for us to have this type of encounter,” he said “The US plays a very important role for ASEAN as one of its largest trading partners. We’re also one of their largest trade partners.”
The treaty would offer Cambodia “protections to Cambodian investors in the US market.
Additionally, as Ambassador Kirk noted, it would highlight and advance Cambodia's progress in improving its investment climate”, according to McIntosh, while providing specific investment details for both countries that a free trade agreement would only cover in a broader sense.