Representative of the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) are keen to explore and expand investment opportunities in Cambodia, a move that is supported by the government’s readiness to engage in discussions with the private sector to address pertinent issues.

The intention was conveyed by council representatives during a meeting with Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla on February 29.

The gathering, held at the ministry, was attended by officials from various government departments, including the General Department of Taxation (GDT), the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), the General Department of Policy and Strategy and the General Secretariat of the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority (NBFSA).

According to the finance ministry, council representatives at the meeting expressed high regard for the efforts to bolster US-Cambodia business, trade and investment cooperation. They also commended the government for its achievements in fostering rapid, sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth.

The council, encompassing both companies currently operating in Cambodia and those planning to invest, articulated their desire to explore and enhance their investments.

They said this ambition is driven by the nation’s potential and its role in further stimulating the country’s economic expansion.

The council requested clarification on business aspects and investment potential and sought solutions for challenges faced by US companies operating here. 

Phalla welcomed the ongoing dialogue between the business community and government ministries and agencies.

He urged representatives of departments under the ministry to arrange discussions for a deeper understanding and more effective resolution of challenges encountered by US and other foreign companies in Cambodia.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on March 5 that the council’s expression of interest provides a fresh impetus and positive promotion for Cambodia, as the government and private sector actively seek to attract direct investment and business expansion.

Vanak added that the county’s investment climate is highly favourable, offering beneficial conditions for investment and orders for Cambodian-made products, which enjoy certain preferential tariffs. 

“Although it is just a discussion meeting, it reflects Cambodia’s potential to attract both national and international financiers for direct investment,” he stated.

According to the GDCE, trade between Cambodia and the US totalled $9.15 billion in 2023, a 1.4% decrease from $9.28 billion in the previous year. 

Exports to the US were valued at $8.9 billion last year, a slight drop of 0.8%, while imports from the US were $257.18 million, falling by 17.7%. Cambodia’s trade surplus stood at $8.64 billion, marginally lower than the $8.65 billion surplus recorded in 2022. 

The US remains Cambodia’s second-largest international trading partner, representing 19.55% of the Kingdom’s total international trade volume of $46.83 billion in 2023, as per the GDCE.