The US-Asean Business Council wants more long-term economic ties with Cambodia, with American investors showing keen interest in the agriculture sector.
The comments were made yesterday during a meeting at the Peace Palace between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Michael Walter Michalak, the council’s senior vice president and regional managing director.
Eang Sophalleth, an assistant to Mr Hun Sen, told reporters the meeting focused on economic ties in the energy, infrastructure, human resources, cultural and agriculture sectors.
“Mr Michalak said that his council aims to promote long-term economic relationships with Cambodia,” he said, adding that the visit aimed to seek areas of mutual interest to Cambodian and US investors.
Mr Sophalleth noted that US Ambassador William Heidt also attended the meeting and told Mr Hun Sen that there are around six to ten US firms which showed interest in the agricultural sector in Cambodia.
He said that Mr Hun Sen lauded and welcomed their interest in investing in the Kingdom and advised US investors to hold discussions with relevant ministries on issues of mutual interest.
“Samdech said that in case the council encounters problems or any issue is not resolved, it should report the matter directly to him,” Mr Sophalleth added.
During the meeting, Mr Hun Sen also raised the issue of climate change which has affected the agriculture sector in Cambodia. Mr Hun Sen noted that the growth of rice is being affected by rising temperatures.
Mr Sophalleth said Mr Hun Sen believes that US investors have technical expertise in cultivation and hopes they can tackle the climate change problem hitting Cambodian crops.
He said Mr Hun Sen also asked US investors to process Cambodia’s agriculture produce into half-finished and finished products for supply to local and international markets.
Last week, the US Embassy held a forum to showcase business opportunities in Cambodia’s agriculture sector. Sixteen US firms took part.
Mr Heidt told the forum that the time has come for America’s top agricultural corporations to cooperate with Cambodian enterprises and bring world-class technology, equipment and services into the Kingdom.
He said that some Cambodian companies are ready to partner with US companies, noting that they are large enough and have the necessary skills to be good business partners.
On Friday, US-Asean Business Council president Alexander Feldman told Mr Hun Sen on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that he wants Cambodia and the US to maintain and improve bilateral ties.