Complete Guide to Cambodia’s Law on Investment

As Cambodia continues to attract global attention for its economic growth and investment potential, being well-versed in the country’s investment laws and regulations is essential for foreign investors looking to tap into the numerous opportunities available.

In this guide, we will explore the various aspects of Cambodia’s Law on Investment, including the incentives, legal protections, and guarantees offered to investors. 

Whether you are a seasoned investor or a newcomer to the Cambodian market, this will provide valuable insights and guidance for a successful investment journey.

Investment Incentives

Tax Incentives and Exemptions

Cambodia’s Law on Investment offers various tax incentives and exemptions to attract foreign investors and stimulate economic growth. These incentives include corporate tax holidays, reduced tax rates, and exemptions from withholding tax on dividends and interest.

With these advantages, investors can significantly reduce their financial burden and increase the profitability of their ventures.

Customs Duty Exemptions

In addition to tax incentives, Cambodia’s Law on Investment provides customs duty exemptions for certain imported goods and materials. These exemptions apply to raw materials, production equipment, and other items essential for the operation of a qualified investment project. 

Investors can minimize their operational costs and enhance their competitive edge in the market through these exemptions.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are designated areas within Cambodia that offer a range of investment incentives and benefits to businesses operating within their boundaries. These incentives include streamlined business registration processes, reduced bureaucracy, and enhanced infrastructure facilities. 

SEZs also provide additional tax and customs duty incentives, making them attractive investment destinations for foreign investors seeking to establish a presence in Cambodia.

Property Ownership Rights

Cambodia’s legal framework provides property ownership rights to both domestic and foreign investors. While foreigners are generally restricted from owning land directly, they can acquire long-term leases or own buildings and structures through various legal structures, such as forming a local company. 

By understanding the property ownership rights and available options, foreign investors can secure their investments and make well-informed decisions on acquiring real estate in Cambodia.

READ ALSO: Cambodia Real Estate Laws and Regulations

Intellectual Property Rights

Protecting intellectual property rights is important to fostering innovation and maintaining a competitive edge in the market. 

Cambodia’s Law on Investment, along with other relevant laws, offers protection for intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Through these, investors can safeguard their valuable assets and prevent unauthorized use or infringement by third parties.

Investment Guarantees and Dispute Resolution

Cambodia’s Law on Investment provides guarantees to protect investors from expropriation and nationalization, ensuring the security and stability of their investments. 

In the event of disputes, the law also offers various dispute resolution mechanisms, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. 

Investment Approval Process

Application Requirements

To initiate the investment approval process, investors must submit a comprehensive application to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) or the relevant government agency. The application should include details about the proposed investment project, such as the business plan, financial projections, and information about the investor. 

Additionally, investors may need to provide documentation related to their financial capacity, technical expertise, and any required licenses or permits.

The Role of the Council for the Development of Cambodia 

The CDC plays a central role in overseeing and facilitating foreign investments in the country. It is responsible for reviewing investment applications, ensuring compliance with the Law on Investment, and granting approvals for qualified investment projects. 

The CDC also serves as a one-stop service center, providing guidance and support to investors throughout the investment process.

Timeline for Approval

The timeline for investment approval can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the level of coordination required among various government agencies. 

Generally, the CDC aims to process investment applications within a specified time frame. However, investors should be prepared for potential delays and maintain open communication with the CDC to ensure a smooth approval

Investment Sectors

Cambodia’s investment landscape is diverse, offering opportunities across various sectors. The government has identified priority sectors for investment to drive economic growth and development. However, there are also restricted and prohibited sectors where foreign investment is limited or not allowed.

Priority Sectors for Investment

The Cambodian government has designated several priority sectors for investment to stimulate economic growth and create employment opportunities. 

These sectors include:

  • agriculture, 
  • agro-industry, 
  • manufacturing,
  • infrastructure, 
  • tourism, and 
  • technology. 

By investing in these priority sectors, foreign investors can contribute to the country’s development and potentially benefit from additional incentives and support.

Restricted and Prohibited Sectors

While Cambodia is generally open to foreign investment, there are certain sectors where restrictions or prohibitions apply. These restrictions may include limitations on foreign ownership, requirements for joint ventures with local partners, or complete prohibitions on foreign investment. 

Restricted and prohibited sectors may include land ownership, natural resources, and certain cultural or national security-related industries. 

Compliance and Reporting

Taxation and Financial Reporting Requirements

Investors operating in Cambodia are subject to various tax and financial reporting requirements. These may include corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and withholding tax, among others. 

Companies are also required to maintain proper financial records and submit annual financial statements to the relevant authorities. Familiarity with the local tax regime and reporting requirements helps investors ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.

READ ALSO: Understanding Rental Property Tax in Cambodia

Environmental and Social Impact Assessments

Investment projects in Cambodia, particularly those with potential environmental or social impacts, may be required to undergo an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA). The ESIA process involves evaluating the potential effects of a project on the environment and local communities and proposing mitigation measures to minimize any adverse impacts. 

Labor Laws and Regulations

Compliance with labor laws and regulations is critical for maintaining a productive and harmonious work environment. In Cambodia, investors must adhere to various labor-related regulations, including those governing wages, working hours, occupational safety and health, and employee benefits. 

By understanding and complying with these labor laws, investors can foster positive relationships with their workforce and mitigate the risk of labor disputes or legal issues.

READ ALSO: Doing Business in Cambodia

Exiting an Investment

There may come a time when investors need to exit their investment in Cambodia, either by selling or transferring ownership, or by liquidating the business. Understanding the legal procedures and requirements for these processes is crucial for a smooth exit.

Selling or Transferring Ownership

Exiting an investment in Cambodia may involve selling or transferring ownership of the business to another party. 

This process typically requires the preparation of relevant legal documents, such as sale and purchase agreements, and obtaining necessary approvals from the relevant authorities. It is essential for investors to consult with legal and financial advisors to ensure the proper valuation of the business, compliance with local regulations, and a smooth transfer of ownership.

Liquidation and Bankruptcy Procedures

In some cases, investors may need to exit their investment through liquidation or bankruptcy procedures. 

Liquidation involves the orderly winding up of a company’s affairs, settling its debts, and distributing any remaining assets to shareholders. Bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a legal process initiated when a company is unable to pay its debts and requires court intervention to resolve the situation.

Both liquidation and bankruptcy procedures in Cambodia are governed by specific laws and regulations, which outline the steps to be followed, the rights and obligations of the parties involved, and the role of the courts and other authorities. 


Investing in Cambodian real estate offers numerous opportunities for foreign investors, but it is essential to understand the local business environment and navigate the complexities of the investment process. 

Key takeaways for foreign investors include:

  1. Legal Framework: Familiarize yourself with Cambodia’s Law on Investment and other relevant regulations to ensure compliance and take advantage of available incentives and protections.
  2. Investment Approval Process: Prepare a comprehensive application and work closely with the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) to facilitate a smooth approval process.
  3. Priority and Restricted Sectors: Understand the priority sectors for investment, as well as any restrictions or prohibitions that may apply to your chosen industry.
  4. Compliance and Reporting: Ensure adherence to local taxation, financial reporting, environmental, and labor regulations to maintain a successful and responsible business operation.
  5. Exiting an Investment: Be prepared for potential exit scenarios by understanding the legal procedures and requirements for selling or transferring ownership, as well as liquidation and bankruptcy processes.

By considering these key takeaways and seeking professional advice when needed, foreign investors can navigate the Cambodian investment landscape with greater confidence and maximize the potential for success in this emerging market.

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