The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) and a US-based global advisory firm recently discussed strategies to strengthen ties and cultivate new partnerships to drive economic growth between the Kingdom and the US. 

Sun Chanthol, first vice-president of the CDC, met Jim Jones, founder and president of Jones Group International, on February 26 to discuss goals for boosting trade and investment between the countries. An update on the council’s official social media on February 27 highlighted discussions centred on fostering a shared vision for growth.

Jones Group International (JGI) provides strategic advisory services in areas including national defence, energy security, international affairs, organisational leadership and “prosperity”. 

“We have important strategic goals to deepen bilateral relations, pioneer new cooperation and better expand trade and investment between Cambodia and the US,” said Chanthol. 

He presented a plan to strengthen the country’s trade and investment climate. These goals encompass streamlining trade facilitation by simplifying customs procedures, reducing trade barriers and enhancing market demand for Cambodian products. 

Additionally, the strategy aims to expand market access for “Made in Cambodia” products through negotiating new free trade agreements (FTAs) or strengthening existing ones. 

Chanthol said the US could further support investment by providing technical assistance, building capacity and launching targeted initiatives.

During the meeting, Jones noted Cambodia’s current progress and growth. He expressed interest in the nation’s vision to become an upper-middle income country by 2030 and its goal of transitioning from a labour-intensive economy to one driven by technical skills and modern infrastructure development, according to the post.

“We are ready to help boost trade and investment between the two countries. We believe that through trade and investment, bilateral relations between Cambodia and the US will be further enhanced,” Jones was quoted as saying.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), said the US is one of the Kingdom’s largest export markets, with major exports including clothing, footwear, bags and agricultural products. 

Citing a recent report from the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), he said the US has emerged as Cambodia’s leading export destination, accounting for one-third of the country’s total exports.

“Strengthening relations and developing new CDC strategies are key drivers of increased US trade and investment in Cambodia,” he added. 

According to the GDCE, Cambodia’s exports to the US in January 2024 were valued at over $626 million, representing an increase of over 11 per cent compared to January 2023. Imports from the world’s largest economy reached over $17 million in the same month, an 8 per cent decrease.