Cambodia's Minister of Commerce has urged Jason Smith, chairman of the US House Committee on Ways and Means, to encourage the US congress to strongly consider re-authorising the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Cambodia.

Pan Sorasak said the reauthorisation is viewed as a move to maintain the economic cooperation and mutual benefits for both countries as well as boost investments.

The GSP scheme lapsed on December 31, 2020 and has yet to be renewed, with the private sector awaiting a decision from Congress.

Sorasak made this appeal during a meeting with Smith, who led a delegation of seven US parliamentarians, and accompanied by US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy at his ministry on August 2.

Apart from briefing the delegation about the national election, the minister spoke about expanding export markets this year including signing free trade agreements in the region, and improving the investment landscape.

However, much of the focus was on urging the US parliament to renew the GSP programme for garments, footwear and travel goods.

The minister also called on American companies to consider increasing investments in Cambodia to reduce the trade balance between the countries.

Separately, Penn Sovicheat, the ministry’s secretary of state, told The Post on August 3 that Cambodia is not the only country waiting for the GSP reauthorisation from the US, but there are other least developed countries too.

He said the delay in the reauthorisation is costing Cambodia as it has to pay the regular tariffs on export for travel goods to the US.

Between January and November last year, trade between Cambodia and the US grew 21.8 per cent to $8.5 billion, the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) stated. The US represented Cambodia’s largest share of exports at 96.6 per cent.

In that period, Cambodian exports went up 23 per cent to $8.2 billion while imports dipped 4.9 per cent to $292.8 million, from the corresponding period in 2021.

Cambodia’s trade surplus with the US for the 11-month period expanded by 24.35 per cent to $7.9 billion from $6.4 billion a year ago.

The US remains Cambodia’s largest purchaser of garment, textiles, travel goods and footwear, with a 40.2 per cent market share out of the total $20.5 billion.