The tightening up of rules and introduction of new regulations in Cambodian law is helping business to boom across the Kingdom, claim industry insiders.
Government chiefs have been working hard during the last few months to implement a string of measures introduced to tighten up the laws surrounding setting up a business in Cambodia. The ultimate aim is to attract more companies into the Kingdom and boost the ever-growing economy.
The purge started in 2010 with the launch of the Anti-Corruption Unit and introduction of the Anti-Corruption Law. Since then it has picked up pace, as the Government “works aggressively” towards reform, says Ly Tayseng, Partner and Managing Director of HBS Law. The main focus has been on shaking off Cambodia’s image as a country full of corruption by tightening up laws and making official processes, transactions and payments more transparent.
As part of the new regulations, official fees and clear guidelines over what payments need to be made must be published annually and made publicly available by ministries.
Education has also formed a key part of the reform, with officers and officials undertaking intensive training. Ly says the Ministry of Education is also in talks with the Anti-Corruption Unit about introducing anti-corruption education into the curriculum of junior school students.
Peter Mewes, HBS Law Senior Legal Advisor, adds, “This is good as it encourages investment from abroad where foreign firms are also bound by their own bribery laws and can face imprisonment.”
Initial measures introduced to make procedures more transparent often led to delays in registering companies because of the increased amount of paperwork. However, an overhaul is cutting down on time, with the Ministry of Commerce scrapping the need for a certificate of origin for manufacturers exporting overseas (unless it is a requirement of the other country) being one example.
A praka issued in September stated new companies needed to carry out a name search with the Trademark Department, adding time to the process. Recently, the Ministry of Commerce merged its Commercial Registration Department and Trademark Department, meaning company registration and name searches can be done at the same time under one request.
This year, online Trademark registration was launched. This can only be done by contact agents who are accredited with the Ministry of Commerce, which most legal and accounting firms, such as HBS Law, have.
“All of these factors make it much easier for companies wanting to invest in the company because they are very important to facilitate business,” Ly adds. “The Government is trying to improve transparencies and make things easier and quicker. The aim is to make Cambodia as competitive as possible with other neighbouring countries.”