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US, P Penh nearer on MFN status

US, P Penh nearer on MFN status

Cambodia nudged a step closer to getting highly-valued Most-Favored-Nation trade

status with the United States, both countries said in a statement following two

days of trade talks.

"We made progress towards our common goal of

reaching a bilateral trade agreement between the US and the Kingdom of

Cambodia," a joint US-Cambodian statement dated Feb 11 said at the end of two

days of trade talks.

"This agreement would include the reciprocal

extension of Most-Favored Nation tariff treatment and other measures to

facilitate enhanced trade between our two countries, such as protection of

intellectual property rights," it added.

Further discussions are

scheduled. The Royal Government is actively seeking foreign capital to help

rebuild the country's shattered economy.

But finance Minister Sam Rainsy

told a news conference that official corruption and a violent crime wave were as

big a deterrent to foreign investment as the on-going guerrilla war against the

communist KR.

Rainsy's sweeping economic reforms include a balanced

budget, modest import duties and an enforceable tax on company profits. Under

the former Vietnamese-installed government there was no centralized tax

collection.

"Tax is just a factor - not so important. Problems of peace

and stability, security, corruption, a legal system and infrastructure are the

real hindrances for investment in the country," he said.

Rainsy said he

expected little effect on Cambodia from the lifting of the US trade embargo on

neighboring Vietnam.

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