The Council of Ministers on December 16 approved two draft bills, respectively amending the Law on Commercial Enterprises (“LCE”) and Law on Commercial Regulations and the Commercial Register (“LCRCR”), which are designed to improve the ease of doing business in Cambodia and prepare for post-Covid economic recovery.

The endorsed draft instruments will now be put up for vote at the National Assembly.

Following the council’s meeting, Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the amendments would bolster transparency and consistency within the Cambodian legal framework and create an environment conducive for ease of doing business, propel the socio-economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, and boost economic growth.

He noted that the LCRCR was promulgated on June 26, 1995 and amended on November 18, 1999, and that the LCE entered into effect on May 19, 2005.

He upheld that both laws have been implemented smoothly for many years, but pointed out that some articles have never been used.

He claimed that these articles fail to reflect the current state of government reforms related to the provision of public services, as well as the local business environment and its integration into the global community.

The current model of public services provision features an automated system which minimises the information, attachments and other requirements for the establishment and registration of enterprises, he said.

However, he noted that the laws address a number of procedures no longer required in practice.

He argued that some of the articles are not consistent with the law or other obligations under the conventions, treaties and international agreements to which Cambodia is a signatory.

The government prepared the two draft instruments to “bring harmony among legal documents”, according to Siphan.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on December 16 that the council’s approval was in line with the Kingdom’s adoption of digital tools for commerce.

He emphasised that analyses indicating that the Kingdom’s existing laws do not optimally meet the business needs of investors prompted the government to amend some articles and insert new ones.

These, he said, would supplement the recently-enacted investment law, which is also designed to improve the business environment.

The implementation of the existing legal framework has created difficulties for businesses to trade and transit goods, he said, contending that the amendments would induce more investment and enhance the country’s credibility.

He said these adjustments would better support Cambodia’s transition to Industry 4.0, with a more detailed profile of the Kingdom’s current economic situation.

“These amendments are not only required for Cambodian businesses, but also for the region and the world, for them to invest across our country, because we are part of the community,” he said, noting that the ASEAN Community was formally established in 2015.