A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

US embassy makes its pitch

Photo by: Julie Leafe
Brochures rest on display at the Made in America event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh Post

THE United States Embassy pitched its nation’s wares as the “highest quality” to Cambodian businesses yesterday in a bid to capture a share of the Kingdom’s burgeoning import market.

Michael Riedel, Bangkok-based US foreign agricultural service attaché, told delegates gathered at the Phnom Penh Intercontinental Hotel that US products could also be relied on for “a consistent, reliable supply all the time”.

It is a sales pitch that might work in the competitive market of products and services from countries such as China and Vietnam, according to business consultant and conference attendee Ruwan Hulugalle.

“The argument for [importing] US products has to do with reliability and quality, and there is a market for that,” he said.

The Barack Obama administration launched a national initiative this year to double United States exports in the next five years.

Major firms, such as Johnson & Johnson and General Electric, have carried out fact-finding tours of Cambodia this year. Enquiries from US businesses looking to expand their markets to Cambodia are on the rise, according to US foreign commercial service attaché Francis Peters, who spoke at the trade seminar.

Hulugalle, who recently opened Ruwan Hulugalle & Company to advise US businesses on how to establish offices in the Kingdom after seeing demand through his work in the US Embassy, said the scope for Cambodia to source more US products was substantial.

“As the Cambodian economy grows there’s a lot of scope for putting all kinds of American products into all kinds of different sectors. You can imagine just the agriculture sector – tractors, fertilisers, seeds,” he said.

US embassy spokesman John Johnson, who highlighted Obama’s export target, added: “There is great potential to increase the amount and diversity of high-quality US products available.”

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