Siem Reap, Cambodia - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced that the United States and Cambodia have agreed to begin exploratory discussions on a potential bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The announcement follows a meeting in Siem Reap between Ambassador Kirk and Cambodian Economic Minister Cham Prasidh, who is also presiding over ministerial meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this week. Experts in the United States and Cambodia will now discuss our respective investment policies and investment agreements to determine key similarities and differences, with an eye to sharing approaches and opening further discussions based on the U.S. model text for bilateral investment treaties.
"A bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Cambodia would encourage investment by improving investment climates, promoting market-based economic reforms, and strengthening the rule of law," said Ambassador Kirk. "Our decision to explore this possibility highlights progress made by Cambodia in fostering a policy environment that treats private investment in an open, transparent, and non-discriminatory way."
A bilateral investment treaty provides binding legal rules regarding one country's treatment of investors from another country. The United States negotiates BITs on the basis of a high-standard model text that provides investors with improved market access, protections from discriminatory, expropriatory, or otherwise harmful government treatment, and a mechanism to pursue binding international arbitration for breaches of the treaty.
The United States has more than 40 BITs in force with countries around the world.