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Us Embassy, American Chamber Of Commerce Sign Joint Work Plan Blog
United States Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy and American Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Galliano signed a joint work plan outlining four areas where the US embassy and the chamber will cooperate to encourage more US investment in Cambodia. The four areas covered in the plan were promoting US businesses in the Kingdom, cooperating on policy advocacy to create a more ideal business environment, promoting corporate social responsibility and supporting female business owners in Cambodia. “Collectively, this combines our efforts to promote US business, which in turn grows US-Cambodia economic and commercial ties, expands US exports here in the Kingdom and increases investment and trade in both directions. It’s all for the good of the Cambodian people and the American people,” Ambassador Murphy said. He added that US-based companies have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia. “This is a smaller market than elsewhere but it’s growing and we hear from American businesses that this is a market of great interest so that’s what we’re here to facilitate,” he said. Galliano said in the 13 years he’s lived in Cambodia, he’s seen it develop dramatically and he believes that the country is ready to take another step forward economically. He added that an improved education system has helped to develop a large talent pool in Cambodia that will help lure companies to the country. “The investment is coming. America is a key part of that. But I hope to see more foreign direct investment and I think the labour pool and the development of talent here will encourage that and make it a more attractive market,” he said. For policy advocacy, Ambassador Murphy said it was important to advocate for rules that are transparent and market-based to entice more US businesses. “Business looks for the important foundational ingredients to make good solid investments,” he said. “That means strong rule of law, good infrastructure, transparency, [and] a commitment from host authorities to fully combat corruption. All of these are important.” Concerning corporate social responsibility, he said US companies had a strong track record of connecting with and assisting local communities in Cambodia, including during last year’s floods and throughout the pandemic and that it was one of the benefits of hosting US companies. The RMA Group, which represents a variety of US companies in the food and beverage and automotive industries, was on the frontlines of flood-afflicted communities last year. Michael Berg, the Business Development Manager for RMA Cambodia Plc, said: “During the unprecedented floods that occurred last October, RMA was focused on lending a helping hand and making a direct impact. In one instance, we loaded 10 tonnes of rice and several more tonnes of canned fish, fish sauce, soy sauce, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and more into a convoy of Ford Rangers and physically drove it ourselves through metre-high flooded water to make the donation directly to affected communities in Kampong Speu.” Promoting female Cambodian entrepreneurs was also of utmost importance, stressed Ambassador Murphy, as part of a wider effort to achieve gender equality in Cambodia. When asked how the work plan would increase investment in Cambodia, Ambassador Murphy said: “The work plan is about advocating for US business, it’s about supporting women, it’s about supporting connections with communities. The more you see of efforts in those areas, by default, Cambodia becomes a more attractive place to invest.” Before the signing ceremony, Galliano said the government has taken strides to make doing business in the Kingdom easier by introducing online registration, which allows business to register remotely in under 14 business days. He added that e-filing for taxes and One Window Service offices have also helped improve the business environment. “These are all progressive advances that have changed the paradigm in the ease of doing business in the Kingdom and when we return to normalcy, the country will greatly benefit as a preferred FDI [foreign direct investment] destination,” Galliano said via WhatsApp. Despite the perception that US companies lack a strong presence in Cambodia, Galliano pointed out a wide range of US brands that can be seen in Cambodia every day: Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Google and WhatsApp. He said although sometimes the products aren’t tangible, US brands are probably the most visible in daily life in the Kingdom. Besides the tech sector, Galliano said Ford has become the top choice in a competitive vehicle market and the RMA Group has found success in food and beverage, motor vehicles and tractors. RMA Group is the authorised dealer of John Deere tractors in Cambodia. In the future, Galliano said he’d like to see US business leaders in finance and banking make the move to Cambodia. “We have incredible leadership in banking and finance and because these markets are now opening up in Cambodia, with the development of the stock exchange and the development of funds, we’d like to see our real strength that we have globally in finance come to Cambodia as well,” he said.
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