Jiranun Wongmongkol, Thai Business Council’s President, speaks on Thailand’s investments and businesses in Cambodia
Please provide us with an insight into the establishment of the TBCC in Cambodia, what led to its formation and how many members does it have now?
Answer: The establishment of Thai Business Council in Cambodia (TBCC) was inspired by H.E. Mr. Domdej Bunnag, Thai Ambassador at the time. Throughout more than 20 years TBCC has been providing information and guidance to Thai investors interested in doing business and/or invest in Cambodia. It also serves as communication channel between the Embassy and the Thai people residing in Cambodia on issues of importance and in emergency situation.
The Thai Business Council of Cambodia was first established on July 22, 1999 and later changed its name to Thai Business Council in Cambodia in 2014.
Currently, TBCC has an office located in the Royal Thai Embassy. There are about 150 active members.
What role does TBCC play in promoting Thai-Cambodia businesses and investments?
Answer: The establishment of Thai Business CTBCC plays an active role in promoting Thai-Cambodia business and investments through these following activities;
- We represent Thai companies/enterprise and work closely with Thai and Cambodian authorities and the private sector to help Thai business in Cambodia run smoothly and benefit the Cambodian economy.
- We organize, join and participate in events relating to Thai-Cambodia businesses and investments such as business forums, trade fairs, exhibitions and academic seminars.
- We also give consultation, suggestion and guidance regarding law and regulation, procedure, business partners and other related information to Thai businesses/investors who might be interested to do business or invest in Cambodia and vice versa.
How does TBCC resolve disputes or help negotiate between Thai entities and Cambodia’s government authorities?
Answer: In accordance with the objectives of establishment TBCC, we try to prevent all disputes between Thai entities and Cambodian government authorities by arranging and organising the following;
- Give direct consultation to Thai entities.
- Organize seminars, forums and workshops related to business compliance for Thai business entities.
- Arrange consultative meetings between Thai entities and Cambodia’s government authorities such as MOC, CDC, GDT, GDCE, MOLVT.
However, in case of any disputes. TBCC will collect details from Thai entities and consider on a case by case basis to find an appropriate resolution for them. We can also arrange meetings between Thai entities and Cambodia’s government authorities to discuss and seek a solution.
If there are many Thai entities with similar disputes with the same Cambodia’s government authorities, TBCC can represent all of them and speak to the authority as a single voice.
Has TBCC undertaken major investment road show initiatives from Thailand to Cambodia?
Answer: TBCC has not hosted any roadshow event by ourselves, but we always support all roadshow activities which we consider to benefit both Thais and Cambodians.
What is the size of Thai investments in Cambodia, both in terms of investments and trading?
Answer: Thailand is always among the top 10 foreign countries that invest in Cambodia. The amount of investment which has been approved by the CDC in the last 5 years adds up to 20-30 million USD.
In term of trade, Thailand is the second largest trade partner after China. The total trade volume in 2019 was USD 9.4 billion. During the first 10 months of 2020 it has added up to USD 7.3 billion
In 2019, Thailand export to Cambodia reached of USD 7.1 billion, while imports from Cambodia were to USD 2.2 billion.
How has COVID-19 affected TBCC’s activities in Cambodia?
Answer: During COVID-19 pandemic, TBCC has postponed or cancelled events which involve gatherings of people such as seminars, business meetings and social networking events. However, we have adapted some of our events into online platform such as online seminars and meetings.
Is TBCC a member of the advisory working group with the Ministry of Economy and Finance?
Answer: TBCC is a member of IBC (International Business Chamber of Cambodia) who are co-chairs of the Working Group on Law Tax and Governance with Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Moreover, we are also joining with the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce and other international business organizations to work with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on labour issues.
What advice would TBCC provide to Thai investors on investing in Cambodia, especially on the pitfalls of such investments?
Answer: First, TBCC would advise them to check whether their investment is legal under Cambodian laws. Second, we would advise them to do a feasibility study by themselves or their representative. During this phase, we can provide them with reliable information and source of information. We stress that they should not decide to invest only on somone’s words.
After having finished the feasibility study and decided to invest in Cambodia, we would advise them to follow all Cambodian laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues in the future, especially tax and labour issues.
What is the most attractive feature for Thai investors in Cambodia?
Answer: Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an open economy that welcomes all foreign investors and that also allows foreign investors to be the sole owner of the company in almost all business sectors.
Thailand and Cambodia are also good neighboring countries which share borders and similar cultures. We have good relation at all levels from government to government, and people to people.
How is TBCC’s collaboration and interaction with the Royal Thai Embassy and Thai Investment Board?
Answer: As TBCC office is located in the Royal Thai Embassy, we always work closely and meet with each other to update and exchange important information related to Thai-Cambodia business and investment. We also co-organise events, participate in and help promote each other’s events.
For the Board of Investment of Thailand, TBCC always supply information for their studies or research related to investment opportunity in Cambodia. We are also here to facilitate and organise their meetings with the Cambodian side and also cooperate as guest speaker for their delegation during their visit to Cambodia.