Dezan Shira & Associates is a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax and operational advisory to international corporate investors. Operational throughout China, ASEAN and India, our mission is to guide foreign companies through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assist them with all aspects of establishing, maintaining and growing their business operations in the region. With more than two decades of on-the-ground experience and a large team of lawyers, tax experts and auditors, in addition to researchers and business analysts, we are your partner for growth in Asia.
The Khmer Empire reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries when it dominated most of Southeast Asia, accumulating immense power and wealth. After a long period of decline, Cambodia came under French protection in 1863, becoming part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence in 1953. Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime. In November 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia, driving the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and touching off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. A second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability.
Garments, construction, agriculture, and tourism are driving Cambodia’s economy, with GDP climbing more than seven percent per year between 2010 and 2013. The garment industry currently employs about 400,000 people and accounts for 70 percent of Cambodia’s total exports. Oil deposits were discovered beneath Cambodia’s territorial waters in 2005, leading to another possible revenue stream for the government and foreign direct investment interest if commercial extraction is possible. Mining also is attracting investor interest including opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron, and gems. The tourism industry also continues to grow rapidly, with foreign arrivals exceeding two million per year since 2007 and reaching over three million visitors in 2012, many drawn by the UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat.
Despite all of this, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia and long-term economic development will continue to be stymied by endemic corruption, limited educational opportunities, high-income inequality, and poor job prospects. More than 50 percent of the government budget comes from donor assistance, and the major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia’s demographic imbalance. It currently takes around 101 days to set up a business in the country.
Cambodia has 22 special economic zones (SEZs) including one in the capital, Phnom Penh, and four around the Sihanoukville Port Area. The authority responsible for Cambodia’s SEZs is the Cambodia Special Economic Zone Board, which operates under the umbrella of the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
Foreigners are generally required to obtain a visa in order to stay in Cambodia. Visas can be obtained either in the visitor’s home country or on arrival in Cambodia. There are two types of visas:
The Cambodian government allows for three types of investment, they are as follows:
You can find extensive collection of Cambodia’s tax treaties from our Knowledge Sharing Platform.