Economy

US ‘Committed’ to Region’s Economy, Trade Diplomat Says

A truck leaves a Coca-Cola factory to distribute its bevarages to shops and restaurants in Phnom Penh, file photo. A truck leaves a Coca-Cola factory to distribute its bevarages to shops and restaurants in Phnom Penh, file photo.
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A truck leaves a Coca-Cola factory to distribute its bevarages to shops and restaurants in Phnom Penh, file photo.
A truck leaves a Coca-Cola factory to distribute its bevarages to shops and restaurants in Phnom Penh, file photo.
Kong SothanarithVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The US is committed to strong economic activity in Southeast Asia, a senior US diplomat said at a round table discussion in Cambodia Tuesday.

However, Lorrain Hariton, US State Department Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, said the region still needs a strong infrastructure that would act as a backbone for the economic growth in the region.

“The reason I am here as representative is to make sure that we can make that all happen, and that we are committed to moving forward in partnership with the business community to make that happens,” she said.

Hariton was in Phnom Penh following a meeting in Hanoi to discuss infrastructure in the countries of the lower Mekong River.

“Cambodia now is not just Cambodia,” said Pho Hong Phong, a US Commerce Department official. The country is among those in the Lower Mekong Initiative and a member of Asean and its potential market of hundreds of millions of people. “American companies want to do business in Cambodia,” he said.

Chan Sophal, head of the Cambodian Economists Association, said there is “room” to invest in Cambodia, from factories to farmland, in tourism and hotels. What Cambodia lacks is capital and management resources, as well as technology, he said.

US companies are the fifth-most invested here in dollar terms, with more than $1.2 billion in investments over the last decade. Cambodian exports to the US for the first 11 months of last year reached $2.49 billion, a 1 percent increase year on year. Its imports of US goods grew 26 percent for that period, reaching $213 million.
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Demonstrators Call on Government To Fulfill Principles of Peace Accordsi
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24 October 2014
Hundreds of activists demonstrated in Phnom Penh on Thursday, gathering to protest the government’s failure to fulfill the promises of the Paris Peace Accords, which were signed in 1991 and brought liberal democracy and a constitution to a country that had been shattered by war. The demonstrators submitted a petition to the US and other embassies, calling for international pressure on the Cambodian government to follow the accords. (Kong Sothanarith, Phnom Penh)

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