A United States trade delegation from Washington State has been in Cambodia to study
investment opportunities and wants to establish sister city ties between Seattle
and Sihanoukville, a senior official said.
The trade delegation was the first from the United States to visit Cambodia since
the US reopened a diplomatic mission in Cambodia at the end of 1991, following an
18-year hiatus caused by war and communist rule.
"Please know that Cambodia is open for business. We would like to welcome American
investors in Cambodia in any fields," Industry, Mines and Energy Minister Pou
Sothirak told the 20-member delegation on Oct 2.
He said the delegation had asked First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh about
setting up a sister city relationship between Seattle and Sihanoukville.
"The First Prime Minister has given them a positive green light pending more
Southirak said such an arrangement would help improve cultural and social relationships,
as well as business ties.
Velma Veloria, a member of the delegation which spent five days in Cambodia, said
there were so many trade opportunities that "it's difficult to focus on which
ones to address."
She suggested working with Cambodian officials to prepare a "needs assessment"
and identify potential partners from Washington and Cambodia for joint venture businesses.
Southirak later said that talks had focussed on collaboration in industry, small
business and higher education.
Two-way trade between Cambodia and the United States was worth less than $10 million
last year, according to the US Embassy in Phnom Penh.