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Cambodia Market Profile

Market Overview

  • Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth over the last decade. Cambodian gross domestic product (GDP) has grown at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent over the past decade and it is expected to continue to grow at a similar rate in 2016. Cambodia’s economy is expected to officially reach lower-middle income status in mid-2016. Cambodia, however, remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. It is still reliant on foreign aid, with donor support totaling approximately 32 percent of the government’s budget in 2015. Despite the strong performance of the garment, tourism, and construction/real estate sectors, Cambodia remains an agrarian country. Approximately 80 percent of the Cambodian population is involved in agriculture on a full-time or part-time basis.

  • 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 Cambodia’s largest trading partner. In 2015, approximately 25 percent of Cambodia’s total exports reached the United States – primarily garment and footwear products. In 2015, Cambodian exports to the United States were valued at $3 billion and U.S. exports to Cambodia were $392 million. The United States and Cambodia are signatories to a 2006 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to promote greater trade and investment in both countries and to provide a forum for addressing bilateral trade and investment issues. In February 2016, the third TIFA meeting was held in Phnom Penh. The United States and Cambodia began exploratory discussions on a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in May 2013. Additional exploratory talks on a BIT were held in February 2016 and these discussions are ongoing. Cambodia is also a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Market Challenges

  • Significant challenges to doing business in Cambodia commonly cited by the private sector include weak rule of law, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, corruption, and under-developed human resources. Lack of respect for basic human rights, including media freedoms, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly, continues to be a concern and has factored prominently in disputes over land rights. Limited enforcement of intellectual property rights, including the sale of counterfeit and pirated products, also remains a major concern for U.S. companies.

Market Opportunities

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

Market Entry Strategy

  • Working with a local partner, such as an agent or distributor, is the most effective way to reach Cambodian consumers. A local partner can facilitate and expedite market entry through market knowledge and established networks. In Cambodia, personal relationships can be the key to successful business transactions.

Contact us

Anne M. Gillman
Cambodia and Laos Desk
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Tel: [202] 482-6433
E-Mail: Anne.gillman@trade.gov

Margaret Hsiang
Economic/Commercial Officer
U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: [855] 23 728-401
E-mail: HsiangME@state.gov

Greg Wong
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service,
U.S. Embassy, Bangkok
GPF Witthayu Tower A, Suite 302,
93/1 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330
Tel: [662]-205-5280
E-mail: Office.bangkok@trade.gov
Website: www.export.gov/thailand

For more information on Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Cambodia, contact:

Peter N. Fowler
Regional IP Attaché
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
Email: Office.Bangkok@trade.gov


Country Commercial Guide
Country Fact Sheet
Market Overview
Local Service Providers
Cambodia Map

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