DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
November 12, 2022
The United States-Cambodia Relationship
President Biden’s participation in the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit (EAS) will take place November 12-13 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the 2022 ASEAN Chair. In 1950, the United States was among the first nations to recognize Cambodia, and our two peoples share an enduring friendship. The United States values cooperation with Cambodia on a range of issues, including condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, implementation of UN Security Council sanctions, including sanctions on the DPRK, law enforcement cooperation to combat transnational crime, and Cambodia’s support for elevating the U.S.-ASEAN relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We continue to underscore to Cambodia that strengthening our bilateral relationship will depend upon Phnom Penh taking concrete steps to improve respect for human rights and democratic processes and address widespread concerns about the PRC’s military presence at Ream Naval Base.
- U.S.-Cambodia relations are based on strong historical and cultural linkages. Cooperation on UN matters and assistance programs helped Cambodia realize the stability and prosperity envisioned in the 1992 Paris Peace Agreements ending civil war and continue to facilitate collaboration on bilateral, regional, and global issues.
- The United States supports Cambodia’s role as ASEAN 2022 Chair and lauds its stance in upholding the UN Charter, defending territorial integrity, and co-sponsoring UN resolutions condemning Russia’s February full-scale invasion of Ukraine and attempt to annex Ukrainian territory.
- The United States urges Cambodia to uphold its constitution and prohibit exclusive control of its territory by any foreign country, including at Ream Naval Base.
- The United States is committed to the Cambodian people and their aspirations for a prosperous, democratic, and independent country. We urge Cambodia to take meaningful steps to reopen political and civic space, including by resolving opposition leader Kem Sokha’s prolonged trial, and releasing other detained political and civil society activists, including U.S.-Cambodian citizen Seng Theary. We also urge Cambodia to address systemic corruption and trafficking in persons, which inhibit Cambodia’s development, and to resolve the ongoing labor dispute between NagaWorld and one of the country’s largest labor unions.
U.S. Assistance to Cambodia
- With U.S. support, Cambodia has experienced decades of robust economic growth and made significant progress toward achieving its Sustainable Development Goals, including by reducing poverty, addressing the remnants of past conflicts, and successfully navigating the global pandemic.
- Over the last 30 years, the United States has provided $3 billion in foreign assistance for health, education, food security, economic growth, national reconciliation, democracy and human rights, the environment, and clearance of unexploded ordnance and landmines.
- The United States has also supported child nutrition and literacy; promoted international labor standards and conditions; and provided training for child protection, UN Security Council sanctions implementation, notably on the DPRK sanctions regime, anti-money laundering, and countering trafficking in persons.
- Public health assistance in Cambodia has addressed infant and maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, and strengthened health systems. Successful U.S. cooperation has enabled zero malaria deaths since 2017, the removal of Cambodia from the World Health Organization’s list of top 30 tuberculosis burden countries, and HIV epidemic control with general adult population prevalence of just 0.6 percent.
- U.S. agencies—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Navy, and Department of State—helped Cambodia stay healthy through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future outbreaks by building workforce capacity, establishing surveillance, providing technical assistance, and contributing more than $15 million in supplemental emergency aid and three million safe and effective vaccine doses donated in partnership with COVAX.
- Cambodia has made longstanding efforts to provide a full accounting of American personnel missing from the Vietnam War era. We also recognize with appreciation that Cambodia allowed the cruise ship MS Westerdam to disembark at the onset of the 2020 global pandemic, providing safe haven for over 1,200 passengers and crew.
U.S.-Cambodia Economic Ties
- The United States and Cambodia meet regularly under the 2006 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which provides a platform for addressing bilateral and multilateral economic issues.
- In 2021, U.S. imports from Cambodia totaled $8.7 billion and U.S. exports were $414 million. The United States is Cambodia’s largest export market by far, accounting for over 40 percent of Cambodia’s total exports.
- The apparel, footwear, and travel goods sectors make up most of U.S. imports from Cambodia and employ over one million Cambodians, mostly women. Top U.S. exports to Cambodia include vehicles, animal feed, and digital services.
- Many Cambodians received their education in the United States or have personal ties to our country – including as dual citizens or with relatives among the 300,000 Cambodian-Americans.
- The United States engages Cambodian youth, women, and ethnic, religious, and minority populations, as well as persons with disability, to advocate for inclusive governance; build the voice of civil society; promote democratic principles and civil and political rights; and engage with entrepreneurs to improve regional interconnectivity and increase U.S. trade opportunities.
- U.S. exchange and assistance programs—including the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI), International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Fulbright, English language instruction, and Peace Corps—have built the capacity of future leaders, benefitted rural and indigenous communities, and improved the livelihoods of millions of Cambodians.
- The United States and Cambodia have a long record of partnership to preserve and protect Cambodia’s cultural heritage. In the framework of our long-standing bilateral cultural property agreement, the United States has facilitated the return of looted Khmer artifacts and supported the preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage sites and collections, including at Angkor Archaeological Park.