Prime Minister Hun Manet called for American investors to consider investment opportunities in Cambodia, owing to the relatively small foreign direct investment (FDI) from the US, although the latter is among the largest global investors.

Speaking at the “US-Cambodia Business Forum: New Opportunity, Shared Prosperity”, co-organised by the Cambodian and US chambers of commerce in New York on September 22, Manet said both countries have a long history dating back to the 1950s when diplomatic relations, friendship and cooperation were first forged.

The joint event was aimed at promoting business, investment and trade opportunities, as well as enhancing business and economic relations in both countries.

“Thanks to continued improvements of diplomatic relations, economic ties have flourished between the US and Cambodia. Our two-way trade relations reached $13.5 billion in 2022. The US continues to be Cambodia’s largest export market, particularly for garments, textiles, footwear and travel goods,” he said.

Touching on investments, Manet mentioned that US-origin FDI stock in Cambodia increased to $893 million in 2022 from $225 million in 2010, expressing hope that more investors would take up the Kingdom’s expanding investment opportunities. In the meantime, several US multinational firms have recently invested in Cambodia including Ford, Coca-Cola, Tiffany and General Electric, on the back of Cambodia’s growing market and incomes.

“When viewed from a foreign investor’s perspective, a country with political stability and economic growth is considered a desired destination. As Cambodia aims to become a high-income country by 2050, the government has laid out the Pentagonal Strategy, which sets out Cambodia’s socio-economic development over the next 25 years,” he said.

The strategy adopts five key priorities, consisting of people, road, water, electricity and technology, with particular emphasis on human capital and digital technology development, in line with Industrial Revolution 4.0 and Digital Revolution.

At the forum, Kouch Pheng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), said the US is one of Cambodia’s largest export markets and a major source of foreign investment.

Plenty of opportunities that could employ US education standard are being created as the Pentagonal Strategy is rolled out along with Cambodia’s vision of becoming an upper-middle income and high-income nation by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

These include the diversification of existing industries like garments, textile and footwear, and the development of the private sector.

“Cambodia needs more skills development and know-how, financial services with lower interest costs, technological support, building ecosystem and infrastructure. So, please turn our needs into business venture opportunities for you in Cambodia,” said Pheng.

Meanwhile, Manet pointed out that the world economy is well-connected and is increasingly interdependent. On that basis, Cambodia is continuously enlarging its market size through its integration with the global supply and value chains, and free trade agreements, like the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and with China and South Korea, signed in the last two years, which serve as export gateways for goods produced by American multinational companies in Cambodia for international markets.

“I am very pleased to invite US investors to visit Cambodia and learn more about our economy and [check out] the investment potential. The government continues to provide unwavering support for the establishment of businesses and expansions, as well as investments,” he said.

Manet added that the government supports efforts to address challenges in order to accelerate the development of the private sector, which is a key partner to the government, and to promote inclusive development for mutual benefits and shared prosperity.