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Doing Business in Cambodia

Cambodia is a developing market economy that grew at an average rate of over 7 percent in the last decade, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, construction, agriculture, and tourism. In 2014, the economy grew by an estimated 7 percent and it is expected to continue to grow at a similar rate over the next two years. Per capita GDP increased from US$367 in 2003 to US$1,130 in 2014. The percentage of the population living in poverty dropped to about 18.6 percent in 2012.

Since Cambodia became the first least-developed country (LDC) to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004, trade has steadily increased. The United States is one of Cambodia’s largest trading partners. Approximately 33 percent of Cambodia’s total exports are destined for the United States - primarily garment and footwear products. In 2014, Cambodian exports to the United States were valued at US$2.84 billion. For the same year, U.S. exports to Cambodia were US$328 million.

Cambodia‘s rapidly expanding tourism industry is led by the spectacular cultural attraction of Angkor Wat. With the number of foreign arrivals approximately 4.5 million in 2014, an increase of 12.5 percent compared to 2013, tourism has increased more than twenty-fold since 1998 when Cambodia received a modest 187,000 tourists. It is estimated that international arrivals will reach 7 million by 2020. In 2011, Cambodian coastal areas were recognized for their natural beauty by the Club of the World’s Most Beautiful Bays.

Despite rapid growth in garments and tourism, Cambodia remains an agrarian society, with over half the population engaged in the agriculture sector. Donors have been a driving force behind the development efforts of Cambodia with financial support accounting for more than 30 percent of the government budget. The United States is one of Cambodia‘s largest donors and official U.S. assistance amounted to around US$122 million in 2014.

Foreign investment in Cambodia, which has increased significantly since 2004, has been led by Asian investors from countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Approved foreign investment proposals by the Council for the Development of Cambodia totaled around US$264 million (184 projects) in 2014. The Cambodian government currently offers a generous package of incentives to foreign investors and imposes few restrictions on imports from abroad.

Trade Agreements

Cambodia joined the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1995 and is also a member of the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ). Cambodia ratified the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Mutual Recognition Arrangements. It has also signed numerous trade agreements, including the U.S.-Cambodia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2006, which facilitates and promotes greater trade and investment between the two countries and provides a forum to address bilateral trade and investment issues. Two successful meetings were held under the TIFA in 2007 in which the U.S. and Cambodian governments discussed WTO accession requirements, trade facilitation and economic development initiatives, and progress on intellectual property rights. In 2008, several bilateral working level meetings were held to advance the TIFA agenda.

Market Opportunity

Cambodia offers potential investment opportunities in tourism infrastructure and resorts; education; architecture, construction, and engineering services; household goods and appliances; agribusiness and food processing; used cars and automotive parts; power generation equipment; fast food and beverage franchises; and pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and medical equipment..

Best Prospects

  • Tourism Infrastructure and Resorts
  • Education
  • Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Services
  • Household Goods and Appliances
  • Agribusiness and Food Processing
  • Used Cars and Automotive Parts
  • Power Generation Equipment
  • Fast Food and Beverage Franchises
  • Pharmaceuticals, Medical Supplies, and Medical Equipment

Cambodia at a Glance

Location: Mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast

Land Area: 181,035 sq. km. (69,900 sq. mi.); about the size of Missouri.

Climate: Tropical monsoon with rainy season from June to October, and dry season from November to May.

Population: 14.68 million (2013 Cambodia Inter-Censual Population Survey)

Languages: Khmer (official) spoken by more than 95 percent of the population; some French still spoken in urban areas; English increasingly popular as a second language

Religion: Buddhist

Real GDP Growth Rate: 7 percent (2014 estimate, MEF)

GDP Per Capita: US$1,130 (2014 estimate, MEF)

GDP by Sector: Agriculture: 29.70 percent; Industry: 25.31 percent; Services: 39.21 percent (2014 estimate, MEF)

Main Drivers of Exports: Garment products and rice

Government Type: Multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Contact Us

  • Economic/Commercial Officer
    Mr. David R. Myers
    Tel: (855)-23-728-401
    Fax: (855)-23-728-800

    Economic/Commercial Specialist
    Mr. Yuk Sothirith
    Tel: (855)-23-728-116
    Fax: (855)-23-728-800

    Commercial Specialist
    Ms. Chann Sokros
    Tel: (855)-23-728-158
    Fax: (855)-23-728-800

    Senior Commercial Officer
    Mr. Michael McGee
    United States Commercial Service
    U.S. Embassy Bangkok, GPF Witthayu Tower A, Suite 302,
    93/1 Wireless Rd., Bangkok 10330, Thailand
    Phone: (662)-205-5280

    Regional IP Attaché
    Mr. Peter N. Fowler
    U.S. Patent and Trademark office, U.S. Embassy Bangkok
    GPF Witthayu Tower A, Suite 302,
    93/1 Wireless Rd., Bangkok 10330, Thailand
    Tel: (662) 205-5913
    Fax: (662) 255-2915