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PHNOM PENH--More than 15 major U.S. companies as well as Cambodian government representatives, companies and stakeholders this week took part in the “Business Opportunities in Agriculture" conference organized by the U.S. Embassy.
Held Thursday and Friday in Phnom Penh, the event was meant to offer U.S. companies the opportunity to look into introducing their products and services in the country and for Cambodians to discuss trade possibilities and integrating today’s technology to develop a more efficient agricultural sector.
Speaking Thursday at a press conference, U.S. Ambassador Patrick Murphy said, "My role as ambassador is to help educate here on these opportunities and to encourage Cambodian producers, companies, SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] to pursue these kinds of opportunities, which provide guarantees, coverage, and insurance for the access and equity that is needed to grow.
"Tapping into these resources will provide a perfect opportunity for American companies to come here," he said.
According to a U.S. Embassy press release, U.S-Cambodia agriculture trade is about $220 million per year. In 2018, Cambodia's exports to United States reached $157 million while U.S. imports to the country totaled $62 million.
Increasing trade may help resolve differences between the two countries, Murphy said.
Urging the Cambodian government to, he said, "return to the strong path of multiparty democracy, respect for all voices including criticism and dissent, and a healthy environment for civil society in the media.”
Doing so will likely attract businesses, which look for such ingredients, he said “to protect those business interests.”