- U.S House of Congress, Speaker of the House, Committees on Foreign Affairs & Ways and Means
- United States of America
On May 20, 2010, Congressmen, William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts and Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California introduced a Bill H.R 5349 "Cambodian Trade Act 2010."
A BILL " to provide that Cambodia's debt to the United States may not be reduced or forgiven, and textile and apparel articles that are the product of Cambodia and imported into the United States may not be extended duty free treatment."
Cambodia is a third world country with a population of fourteen (14) million.
History - Cambodia was granted independence within the French Union in 1949. But the French-Indochinese War provided an opportunity for Sihanouk to gain full military control of the country. He abdicated in 1955 in favor of his parents, remaining head of the government, and when his father died in 1960, Sihanouk became chief of state without returning to the throne. In 1963, he sought a guarantee of Cambodia's neutrality from all parties in the Vietnam War.
However, North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops had begun using eastern Cambodia as a safe haven from which to launch attacks into South Vietnam, making it increasingly difficult to stay out of the war. An indigenous Communist guerilla movement known as the Khmer Rouge also began to put pressure on the government in Phnom Penh. On March 18, 1970, while Sihanouk was abroad, anti-Vietnamese riots broke out and Sihanouk was overthrown by Gen. Lon Nol. The Vietnam peace agreement of 1973 stipulated withdrawal of foreign forces from Cambodia, but fighting continued between Hanoi-backed insurgents and U.S.-supplied government troops.
Combat climaxed in April 1975 when the Lon Nol regime was overthrown by Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge forces. The four years of nightmarish Khmer Rouge rule led to the state-sponsored extermination of citizens by its own government. Between 1 million and 2 million people were massacred on the “killing fields” of Cambodia or worked to death through forced labor. Pol Pot's radical vision of transforming the country into a Marxist agrarian society led to the virtual extermination of the country's professional and technical classes.
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Cambodia, National Institute of Statistics www.nis.gov.kh
Economy Overview - From 2004 to 2007, the economy grew about 10% per year, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, construction, agriculture, and tourism. GDP dropped to below 7% growth in 2008 and probably contracted in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown. With the January 2005 expiration of a WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Cambodian textile producers were forced to compete directly with lower-priced countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. The garment industry currently employs more than 280,000 people -about 5% of the work force -and contributes more than 70% of Cambodia's exports.
The global financial crisis is weakening demand for Cambodian exports, and construction is declining due to a shortage of credit. The long-term development of the economy remains a daunting challenge. The Cambodian government is working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs. The major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance. More than 50% of the population is less than 21 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure ( CIA The World Factbook).
We, the undersigned, call on the Speaker of the House, the Honorable, Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, the U.S House of Congress, Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Ways and Means to STOP THE PROPOSED BILL H.R 5349 " Cambodian Trade Act 2010," to give hope, dignity, and respect to the million poor Cambodian people.