US, Cambodia sign trade, investment framework

US, Cambodia sign trade, investment framework

Fri Jul 14, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Cambodia signed an agreement on Friday to increase trade and investment flows as part of a broader American initiative in the region, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.

Washington already has "trade and investment framework agreements" (TIFAs) with several countries in Southeast Asia. The frameworks create a bilateral forum to work on trade issues and can be a stepping stone to free trade pacts.

The United States also is negotiating an overarching trade and investment framework agreement with the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose total population is about 570 million.

"We welcome Cambodia into our family of TIFA partners in Southeast Asia," Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia said in a statement.

"We look forward to building our trade and investment relations under this dialogue, working more closely on regional and WTO issues, and helping Cambodia fully implement its WTO obligations."

U.S. exports to Cambodia increased 18 percent to nearly $70 million in the past year and have risen steadily since Cambodia joined the WTO in October 2004, USTR said.

Major U.S. exports to Cambodia include automobiles, machinery, textile articles, and fats and oils. U.S. imports from Cambodia totaled $1.7 billion in 2005, comprised largely of knit and woven apparel and prepared meat and fish.

Two-way trade between the United States and ASEAN has grown dramatically over the past decade, and in 2005 totaled $150 billion, making ASEAN the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner, USTR said.

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source: Reuters