Twenty leading Cambodian companies are set to participate in the third edition of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) on Wednesday to explore the potential business and investment opportunities that are available in the region.

The public-private partnership event will be hosted virtually and in-person from October 28-29 in Hanoi, Vietnam with the support of the US and Vietnamese governments, according to the IPBF website.

Speaking at the Monday reception of Cambodian business delegates for the IPBF, US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy said more than one thousand government and private sector representatives are expected to attend the event.

He said it will provide the Kingdom’s businesses the opportunity to directly network with other businesses and government officials.

“As you may know, this year we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between our two countries. Because of the existing partnership, Cambodia always benefits from US products and services.

“Partnership isn’t limited to the private sector – we take a whole-system approach to the Indo- Pacific concerning public-private partnerships. Many of you have already worked with the US government to grow your businesses, and we hope you are proud of those opportunities.

“Your joining this event represents the collective of the Kingdom of Cambodia and all of its opportunities. From our observations, your economy and business sector have become increasingly sophisticated and are ready to grow fast.

“We hope that you will use the opportunity of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum to let businesses around the region and government officials from the United States and across the Indo-Pacific know what’s happening here,” Murphy said.

Song Saran, president of leading rice miller and exporter Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, told The Post on Tuesday that he participated in the second edition of the event in Bangkok where he met thousands of business leaders and US senior officials.

He said: “We got a chance to meet and directly talk with senior officials from the US and business partners in the Indo-Pacific as we shared our business model and investment opportunities in which we could partner up or enter into a loan.

“Amru Rice was the first rice miller to obtain a loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States [Exim] to invest in improving and modernising the grain storage system.”

In May 2018, Amru Rice received a $345,400 Exim-backed loan, which was disbursed by Connecticut, US-based Atrafin LLC for the purchase of a 3,000-tonne storage system from Scafco Corp, an agricultural equipment manufacturer headquartered in Washington state.

The US is the largest market for Cambodian exports, taking in $5.4 billion last year, up from $3 billion in 2015, ambassador Murphy previously said.

Cambodia exported $2.75 billion worth of goods to the US in the first half of this year, up 23 per cent from $2.24 billion in the same period last year, the US embassy in Phnom Penh reported.

The US provides Cambodia with preferential trade access under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, enabling duty free access to the US market for more than 5,000 products, the embassy has said.

Nearly $1 billion in travel goods were exported to the US last year under GSP, Murphy added.