As reported by the Phnom Penhh Post, The United Kingdom Trade and Investment Office (UKTI) has announced it will establish a permanent presence in Cambodia. This seems to be a natural progression as trade between the UK and Cambodia has grown significantly over the past few years, and the UK was the single largest investor in Cambodia in 2011. While the UK’s superlative investment of $2.2 billion last year may have been seen an anomaly, the establishment of this office may portend otherwise. UKTI, through offering expertise and contacts, aims to aid UK companies doing business internationally.
Cambodia has been positioning itself for stories like this through reforming and integrating its laws (Legal and Judicial Reform) and participating in international organizations: WTO, ASEAN, etc. The Council for the Development for Cambodia (CDC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) regulate investment in Cambodia. An overview of the CDC approval process can be found here. A more detailed account of doing business in Cambodia from banking to mining can be found here. Clear processes and quick decisions from the government can be welcome indicators for a company considering taking on a big risk in another country.
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) continue to be something to watch in this area. China’s Shenzen has demonstrated the power of a legal island of commerce. Cambodia has approved 21 SEZs, though not all have seen activity. Tax incentives, a streamlined regulatory process and factory integration can be big draws for a foreign company. More on SEZs here.