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US Congressional Delegation Discusses Trade

Prime Minister Hun Sen and three US congressmen discussed an extension of trade relations between the two countries on Thursday, while raising the possibility of debt reduction.

The congressmen—Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa; Mike Honda, a Democratic from California; and Joseph Cao, a Republican from Louisiana—met with Hun Sen, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Finance Minister Keat Chhon and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh

“We did touch on the issue of debt obligations, also on questions of trade and tariffs in trying to bring Cambodia’s trade and economic needs [and] better status especially in trade with the United States,” Faleomavaega told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport Thursday afternoon.

The US delegation is scheduled to travel to Laos, having already visited Vietnam. The tour will conclude in Japan.

Cambodia owes the US more than $300 million from the Lon Nol period, a debt Cambodian officials maintain should be erased. Faleomavaega said he told Hun Sen he would take the matter to discuss with other US lawmakers.

Debt forgiveness could help Cambodia, he said. Faleomavaega said he wanted to play a role in bettering the relationship between Cambodia and the US.

Eang Sophaleth, an adviser to Hun Sen, told reporters the premier had thanked the men for continued economic support from the US and was happy to promote a relationship between the two countries.