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Business Chambers & Associations

Cambodia is not without its own collection of individuals and businesses working together for a common goal, many of which can offer significant benefits to those starting up and managing operations here.
With several business chambers operating in Phnom Penh, there are plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded business brains in the capital.

For regular news, events listings and more from all of these various support networks, keep an eye on b2b-cambodia.com; including our weekly newsletter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter live feeds.

  • There are more than a dozen foreign national business chambers operating in Cambodia.  The business chambers provide assistance to overseas companies doing business in Cambodia, as well as to foreign-owned and managed businesses operating here.
  • While the primary purpose of these organisations is to represent individuals and businesses from their home countries, some chambers offer membership to people of any nationality, and open to both individuals and companies.
  • Some people join multiple chambers, others are patriotic and stick with one chamber, but it’s good business sense to be in multiple chambers.
  • The cost of membership to these chambers is not extravagant, and can usually be offset by just one or two leads for new business.
  • By maintaining regular contact with government and ministerial representatives, chambers seek to ensure that you and your business’s interests are being well represented in discussions between the public and private sector.
  • The boards of these national chambers generally comprise business representatives from all major sectors of the Cambodian market, making sure your interests are being addressed by an expert in those fields.
  • The chamber helps business people primarily by offering them a voice in the community and public sector.
  • It may be beneficial to join a business chamber for many reasons.
  • They offer practical advice on the business and investment climate here, and instructional workshops are often held to address current issues of running a business, often including special guests and industry experts from the business community and Government Ministries.
  • Further, Chambers are handy in terms of developing your network of contacts and promoting your business.
  • Chambers provide information, signposting and introductions for new and return members, so that your business profile and connections with potential customers are as strong and visible as possible.
  • Being part of a national chamber may also strengthen the brand image of national companies in the market and consequently allows them to distinguish themselves for having internationally respected standards of doing business.
  • Chambers can also help with very practical matters of cooperation in some cases.
  • Three of these organisations, the British Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (BritCham Cambodia), the Franco-Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCFC) and the German Business Group Cambodia (ADW), were instrumental in the formation of the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham), which was inaugurated in June 2011.
  • Established to represent European businesses and entrepreneurs living and working in Cambodia, the primary mission of EuroCham is to become a major resource for questions on trade, investment and business information. Its objective is to act on business organisations’ and individuals’ behalves for business facilitation, regulatory exchange and dispute resolution as well as promote European economic and cultural relations with Cambodia and vice versa.
  • European investment as it stands currently represents only three to five percent of overall investment in Cambodia. But in ASEAN as a whole, European countries represent the number one investor globally. Cambodia is an anomaly at the moment. The EU seeks to grow in Cambodia through EuroCham and the future looks very promising.
  • In September 2014, EuroCham received a new grant from the EU totalling Euro2.5M, on five years funding.
  • This funding presents a fantastic opportunity to grow EuroCham and European interests in Cambodia. The funding is intended to support the “ICI +” project, which aims to support European-owned SMEs in Europe, Cambodia and Southeast Asia regionally through three pillars: advocacy, outreach and services.
  • By representing these interests as a conglomerate of EU business interests,EuroCham have more power to introduce them to beneficial market opportunities in Cambodia and the regional ASEAN market.
  • The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AusCham Cambodia) was established under the moniker of ABAC (The Australian Business Association of Cambodia) in the 90s to provide a social setting to establish good relationships between the two countries’ business people.
  • With over 90 members associated with AusCham, the organisation operates alongside Australian businesses, the Australian Embassy and the Cambodian Government.
  • Last of the business chambers, though certainly not least is the International Business Chamber (IBC). The chamber is an officially registered body that represents more than 70 member companies from 19 countries, many of which are subsidiaries of major international businesses such as Bayer, Chevron and General Electric.
  • Arguably the most important role that the IBC plays is its part in the Government-Private Sector Forum (‘G-PSF’), a biannual meeting between the Prime Minister, his Cabinet and the business community. In preparation for this there are monthly or bi-monthly meetings of eight sectoral Working Groups, one of which, the Working Group ‘D’ on Law, Tax and Good Governance, receives administrative support from the IBC. For many foreign business delegations planning to visit Cambodia, the IBC is the first on the list of organisations to be contacted.
  • Hosting and providing briefings to visiting missions is one of the most significant roles that the chamber plays in promoting business and investment in the Kingdom.
  • The IBC is open to corporations regardless of national affiliation and provides networking, speakers’ lunches, briefings on economic and political developments, conference and workshop organising, meetings with visiting delegations, social events, and more.
  • The mission of the IBC is to “provide leadership in creating a forum for international and local businesses and business associations having an interest in Cambodia to work together in a spirit of friendship and cooperation for mutual benefit” while also aiming to “foster constructive relations with the Royal Government”.
  • The embassies offer a range of business-related services to their respective expatriate community, from expert advice about the investment climate to assistance in promoting a company’s product.
  • For US companies, the US Embassy Commercial Services in Phnom Penh help customise business needs in local markets.
  • The services offered include trade counselling, market intelligence, business matchmaking and commercial diplomacy that can help businesses connect with opportunities in the Kingdom.
  • UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Cambodia aims is to help British exporters and investors and that includes British companies that have already set up shop in Cambodia.
  • It also means providing assistance and value to local partners.
  • UKTI believe in mutual prosperity, so works to build capability in different industries and build best practices, not just for British companies, but for the whole industry.
  • AusTrade fulfills a similar function for its countrymen and women, and can be contacted through the Australian Embassy.
  • Aside from the IBC and the various national business chambers, there are numerous organisations based around particular industry sectors or professions.
  • Being a member can be highly beneficial.
  • Hotels, restaurants, travel and tourism professionals, logistics firms, NGOs, insurance companies, land valuers, garment manufacturers and the extractive industries all have their own associations, to name a few. There is also a press club, the bar association, one for microfinance, health professionals, and philanthropic associations such as the Lions Club, Lighthouse Club and Rotary International.
  • The Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs’ Association (CWEA), for example, provides a representative platform for women in the business world. CWEA is the only association of its kind; facilitating the growth of women’s business activities through mentorship, training, and even advertising members’ services during events.
  • There are a number of associations for specific industries in Cambodia as well.
  • The Cambodian Association for Mining and Exploration Companies and the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association (CAMFFA) are just a couple.
  • It is becoming more and more unlikely that you won’t find an organisation in Cambodia representing your industry.
  • Unions in Cambodia have proliferated since the government’s adoption of a new labour code in 1997. While mainly associated with the garment industry (representing over 400,000 workers), they are also active in other industries as diverse as hospitality, teaching, transportation, construction as well as rubber and tobacco plantations.
  • As of late 2011 the Cambodian Labour Movement comprised 50 separate union federations and 11 associations, 44 of which were involved in the garment industry.
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has also, since the early 1990s, been an active partner in Cambodia’s economic, social and democratic recovery, playing an important role in helping to restore livelihoods, generate sustainable employment, rebuild infrastructure and set-up and strengthen democratic institutions.
  • Better Factories Cambodia, working in the garment industry, is a unique programme managed by the ILO and supported by the government, trade unions and the industry employers’ association.
  • CAMFEBA (Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations) is a representative organisation for employers and businesses, which is almost an antithesis of the unions.
  • CAMFEBA is an autonomous and independent federation of employers and Business Associations recognised and registered with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
  • Established due to the increasing need for the private sector to stand together with a unified voice, CAMFEBA has become the single federation representing, promoting and safeguarding the rights and interests of employers in Cambodia.
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