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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release September 25, 1996

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 1642, a bill to extend most-favored-nation (MFN) status to Cambodia after a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Cambodia has entered into force.

This legislation is an important milestone in U.S.-Cambodian relations. The United States was a major supporter of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), a peacekeeping success that led to free and fair elections in 1993 and the establishment of the Royal Government of Cambodia. The United States supports efforts in Cambodia to strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, and foster economic development.

Most-favored-nation status will make it possible for Cambodia's private sector to realize its full development potential and will further improve the access American firms enjoy in Cambodia. United States export financing programs now will be able to go forward to the extent possible under the criteria established by relevant governing statutes. MFN will open the door to significant future opportunities as Cambodia seeks to join the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and takes steps to integrate itself into the dynamic regional economy of Southeast Asia.

My approval of this legislation reflects the strong U.S. support for the people of Cambodia in their efforts to overcome a tragic past and establish a democracy based on human rights and market economy reforms.

While I recognize that the process of democratization and development in Cambodia has not been easy, I believe MFN status will make an important contribution to achieving our policy goals for a peaceful, prosperous, and free Cambodia. I am confident that with the support of the international community, Cambodia will continue to make progress and strengthen its efforts at economic reform and greater protection of human rights.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

THE WHITE HOUSE,

September 25, 1996.

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