Critics say many investors from the West are put off by the high costs associated with graft in Cambodia, which is among the world’s 20 most corrupt countries.
Last month, US President Barack Obama urged Prime Minster Hun Sen to improve the country’s rights record and free “political prisoners.”
Ninety-six of 101 members approved commencement of the debate on Thursday, allowing lawmakers to now go forward and refine the budget article by article.
Cham Prasidh was in Washington last week, where he and other officials marked the 45th anniversary of the US-Asean Business Council.
The lawmakers say the proposed budget, of about $3.2 billion, can be decreased, especially the foreign debt that Cambodia continues to accrue.
The Economic Institute of Cambodia estimates that some 8 million people are currently employed in Cambodia, especially in agriculture, construction, garments, textiles and tourism.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said regional cooperation and integration for trade and investment remain the “core” of Asean development.
Officials say Cambodia has much more to do to prepare for the oil—and the revenue it would bring—including laws on taxation and regulation.
The Taiwan Cooperative Bank will become the third bank from Taiwan, which has no diplomatic relations with Cambodia under the "one-China" policy.
Garment exports expanded by 14 percent, and tourism grew by 27 percent, the IMF estimated.
Prior to the crisis, a real estate bubble skyrocketed the prices of property and homes across the country.
Cambodia is now seeking to expand its exports of its jasmine rice and other varieties.