Investing in Cambodia: The expert view of Chris Robinson, DFDL

PHNOM PENH: Australian investors should be well-prepared before investing in Cambodia. They should familiarize themselves with the broader Cambodian context, including culture, geographic location, macroeconomic and political stability, legal environment, business climate, diplomatic relations with Australia, infrastructure development, and the human capital development index.

Investors can reach out to the Australian Embassy in Cambodia for general information. They can also seek information from Cambodian Government agencies responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign investment, such as the Council for the Development of Cambodia () and the Provincial-Municipal Investment Sub-committees (PMIS).

The CDC can provide on-the-ground information about investment opportunities, priority sectors, incentives, investment guarantee schemes, and investment laws and regulations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) can provide information about Cambodia's economic diplomacy strategies, e-visa applications, and diplomatic, trade, and investment relations with Australia.

Chris Robinson an Australian lawyer and partner at DFDL stated: “The Cambodian market has evolved significantly over the past decade. Through efforts to liberalize the market by allowing foreign investment in almost all sectors, Cambodia has attracted consistently strong levels of foreign direct investment, particularly in manufacturing, and construction, agriculture, and service sectors.

He continued that, with relatively low barriers to entry, we have seen a huge uptick in mergers and acquisitions-related activity over the past five to six years for those now seeking to enter the Cambodian market, particularly in the more mature sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications, and manufacturing. While the greatest investment interest in Cambodia has originated from North Asia and ASEAN neighbors in recent years, we have seen promising signs of increased investment from Australian companies in select industries, particularly in mining, education, tourism, logistics, supply chain management, property management, and healthcare.

Having worked with Australian companies seeking to invest in Asia for over 20 years, prospective entrants tend to be sensitive to corporate governance, rule of law, and transparency, he added.

Australian investors can also learn about the Cambodian investment context by building good networks with existing experienced investors or local businesses. The Australian Chamber of Commerce, (Auscham) in Cambodia can help to facilitate these, given its extensive local network of Australian and Cambodian businesses.

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