Phnom Penh (VNA) - Cambodia welcomes any US airline that wishes to operate direct flights to the country and promotes trade, tourism and investment with the world’s largest economy, said Minister in charge of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) Mao Havannall.

Havannall made his statement at a meeting with US Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy at the SSCA office earlier this week.

SSCA spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha said that Murphy had proposed allowing US-produced Boeing Co aircraft to operate in Cambodian airspace and carrying out work on an air service agreement between the two countries, which has been discussed since 2014.

According to him, only two issues remain – first is technical terminology, which the sides may interpret differently but still open up to negotiation. Secondly, US companies want to conduct aircraft ground handling procedures themselves.

The Cambodian side suggested the US ambassador to inform any US airline that wants to operate in the country to schedule a face-to-face meeting with the SSCA to discuss the set-up of their ground handling services.

The spokesman said direct flights between the nations either in terms of passenger or cargo would be a boon.

Spokeswoman of the US embassy in Phnom Penh Emily Zeeberg said the two countries regularly discuss commercial opportunities in different sectors, including exporting aviation technologies and services to Cambodia.

She said the continued growth of Cambodia’s aviation sector provides opportunities for local and regional airlines to lease or purchase Boeing aircraft – and other US aviation technologies and services – to meet rising demand.

According to a US Census Bureau report, bilateral trade between the two countries reached 1.136 billion USD in the first two months of 2020, up 39.96 percent annually./.