The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce is set to open branches overseas as it seeks to become the point of contact for foreign investors interested in establishing ties in the country, its members said on Monday.
The Commerce Ministry finalized a sub-decree on Friday to allow the chamber, which operates independently but falls under governmental jurisdiction, to open branches in foreign countries and recruit members there, they said.
Hann Khieng, a vice president of the chamber, said the first overseas office was likely to be established in a country with a large Cambodian population—possibly France, Canada, the U.S., Australia or New Zealand.
“Right now, investors can only contact our embassies abroad, and those only exist at one location in each country and have limited resources and knowledge…about business in Cambodia,” Mr. Khieng said.
“The Chamber of Commerce’s people are more knowledgeable and can provide comprehensive investment and commercial information to investors.”
Mr. Khieng, who is also the executive director of construction firm Muhibbah Engineering, said the role of Cambodian embassies when it came to business should just be pointing people to chamber offices.
He said the sub-decree now only needed to be approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which he expected to happen by the end of the year.
Tan Monivann, another vice president of the chamber, said the association would also soon allow businesspeople living abroad—both Cambodians and foreigners—to become members.
“We are currently facing difficulties when exporting goods to overseas markets because we lack commercial relationships overseas,” he said. “We need representatives overseas.”
Mr. Monivann, a vice president of the Mong Reththy Group, said most Cambodian exporters were tripped up trying to understand other countries’ regulations, particularly those without free-trade deals in place.
“When they face such problems, nobody can help them find solutions and that’s why most are reluctant to export their goods to foreign markets,” he said.
“So we need more members overseas…who have knowledge about specific industries, good relationships and a deep understanding of cultures overseas.”