The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that at a recent meeting under the U.S.-Cambodia trade and investment framework agreement the two sides agreed to establish working groups on labor, intellectual property, services and digital trade, and trade facilitation. They also discussed sanitary and phytosanitary issues and reviewed Cambodia’s implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and participation in the WTO Information Technology Agreement.
USTR’s 2017 report on foreign trade barriers identified the following concerns in these areas.
- customs practices that are nontransparent and appear arbitrary, undue processing delays, burdensome paperwork, and unnecessary formalities
- wide availability of pirated CDs, DVDs, software, garments, and other copyrighted materials as well as an array of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other products in Cambodian markets
- increasing spread and popularity of online sites purveying pirated music, films, ebooks, software, and television shows
- lack of a law on e-commerce (although a draft law is expected to be available for parliamentary review this year)
The U.S. also used the TIFA meeting to update Cambodia on the Trump administration’s priorities on trade, including enforcement, lowering the trade deficit, and opening new markets. USTR notes that the U.S. deficit in goods trade with Cambodia was $2.5 billion in 2016, down 7 percent from 2015. U.S. goods exports to Cambodia totaled $362 million (down 7.5 percent), primarily vehicles, machinery, food waste, animal feed, fur, and non-woven textiles, while imports totaled $2.8 billion (down 7.0 percent) and included knit and woven apparel, footwear, plastics, and leather products. Agricultural exports to Cambodia totaled $52 million, including soybean meal, distillers grains, hides and skins, prepared food, and beef products, and agricultural imports were valued at $23 million, including fruits and vegetables, rice, and other products.