US envoy hopes Cambodia gets back GSP status

US envoy hopes Cambodia gets back GSP status

Cambodia’s efforts to get back the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) concessional trade status, given by the US to select countries, are yet to succeed but W. Patrick Murphy, the US Ambassador to the Kingdom, recently indicated that he supported the initiative.

During a meeting with Bin Trachhey, Minister of Planning, on Tuesday, Murphy reportedly said he hoped Cambodia would be regranted the trade status, allowed to lapse through non-renewal by the US on political/human rights and labour standards grounds in 2020.

The Ambassador was accompanied at the meeting by Kerry Pelzman, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Mission Director, Aleksandra Zittle, Director of Political and Economic Affairs, and Moses An, Deputy Director of Political and Economic Affairs, according to an official statement.

During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on the Ministry of Planning’s programmes with a focus on the new Pentagonal Strategy of the Royal Government of Cambodia, such as the five-year National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) 2024-2028.

They also discussed developing a three-year rolling Public Investment Plan (PIP) and the progress in the work to prepare Cambodia for the exit from Least Developed Countries status to become an Upper Middle-Income Country by 2030.

The Ambassador provided a brief description of the major US projects through USAID to assist Cambodia in agriculture, trade, education, technology, and human resource training. He also praised Cambodia for its commitment to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and turning Cambodia into an Upper Middle-Income country by 2030 and a High-Income Country by 2050.

Murphy stated that the US has remained the biggest export market of Cambodia for the last several years and hoped that Cambodia would be re-granted GSP which can further boost the trade between the two countries.

GSP is a US trade programme designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products to designated states and territories in the country.

Cambodia raised the issue of the non-renewal of the GSP when a delegation of the US House of Representatives visited the country last year, urging for steps to reinstate the status.

In October 2021, Cambodia along with 26 other countries, submitted a formal petition to the US Congressional committee to reconsider the decision on GSP non-renewal.

According to the US Embassy, the US Trade Representative (USTR), however, has a mandate to ensure that the beneficiary countries are meeting the eligibility criteria of GSP. The process involves an assessment by USTR and other relevant agencies of each GSP beneficiary country’s compliance with the statutory eligibility criteria.

Cambodia became a GSP beneficiary in 1997 and enjoyed the tariff benefits until 2020.

Meanwhile, at the meeting on Tuesday, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening and expanding the cooperation between the Ministry of Planning of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United States through USAID and other development partners.

Both sides took note of USAID’s technical assistance for the ministry’s Demographic and Health Survey project (CDHS) from 2000 to 2022, Agricultural Census 2013 and Agricultural Census Survey 2019. khmertimeskh

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