Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Trade Representative Dr. Christina Sevilla visited Phnom Penh, August 13th, and took part in a forum with Cambodia's Senior Minister of Commerce, H.E. Cham Prasidh. Dr. Sevilla congratulated the Cambodian government on the impressive strides it has made in increasing transparency and dialogue with the private sector. She signaled the United States commitment to deepening and expanding the trade relationship between the two countries.
Dr. Sevilla also noted that Cambodia needed to implement its World Trade Organization commitments and strengthen its intellectual property rights regime in order to improve the business climate.
The forum provided a platform for the participants to share U.S. and Cambodian experiences in consultative mechanisms for trade development in order to further the economic ties between the two countries. Promoting trade through improved policies and procedures is one goal of a private-public sector dialogue. Trade between the U.S. and Cambodia rose to two-billion-six-hundred-million dollars in 2008.
Increased transparency is good news for Cambodia's private sector. For the economy to grow, the actions of government officials must be open to public scrutiny. Laws must be enforced fairly and impartially. Corruption and illegal business practices must be exposed and the rule of law applied to violators. Journalists have a responsibility to expose corruption and illegal practices in government and the private sector. They should report the news fairly, objectively, and without surrendering to bribery or political influence. Government has a responsibility to protect the press, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens who expose corruption and illegal practices.
Promoting transparency is one of a number of goals of U.S. trade policy. American policy works toward opening markets throughout the world to create new opportunities and higher living standards for families, farmers, manufacturers, workers, consumers, and businesses.