Sophan Kith, Chairman of the Royal Group of Companies, recognized eight months ago
that Cambodia lacked a chamber of commerce. Since then he has been pushing the idea
to establish one, using funds from his own pocket to draft preliminary documents
and expending his own time to shepherd the application process through the appropriate
channels in the Ministry of Interior.
With the recent receipt of a preliminary permission to set up the Cambodian Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) as a non-profit organization, Kith is confident that
the chamber will become a reality in the near future. He expects to receive the final
green light in the next few months.
"So far I paid all the money to get this far," said Kith. "It's good
for business, good for our government and good for our country. That's why we are
trying to set this up."
Kith's confidence is buoyed by what he sees as a bright future for the private sector
in Cambodia, especially with the results of the elections and the recent moves to
set up an interim government.
Kith sees the CCCI as an association that would be of benefit to both local and foreign
"We believe this association will help overseas investors tremendously,"
said Kith. "But we also need to focus on local business because Cambodians have
not had a chamber of commerce for many years."
Kith points to the more than 700 local and foreign firms currently registered in
Cambodia as potential members.
At present Kith and Mr. Kaing Chhy, who is serving as the CCCI's acting secretary-general,
have drafted articles of association, a statement of goals and objectives, membership
forms and an invitation letter to potential members.
The CCCI's statement of objectives includes:
- to promote the Cambodian economy by bringing local and international companies
- to promote and hold exhibitions of Cambodian products.
- to form a strong and articulate business voice to improve the
- economic and social environment needed to provide the jobs and the prosperity
the entire community seeks.
- to supply the necessary information needed by the overseas investors to capitalize
on new opportunities and joint-ventures.
Once the association is fully established, CCCI will determine an appropriate
fee structure and begin accepting membership applications. A board of directors will
be developed and members will elect a chairman for a one-year term.