Commerce Adds Export Controls on Cambodia; U.S. Government Warns of Business Risks

Cambodian Military Generals Targeted by Human Rights Watch for Abusive Conduct + Cambodian Riot Police

Trade Update • DECEMBER 8, 2021

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced new restrictions to address human rights abuses and corruption by Cambodian government actors, including the military, as well as the growing influence of China’s military in Cambodia.

In a Final Rule, Commerce has placed new restrictions, including end-use and end-user restrictions, on exports and reexports to Cambodia, and in-country transfers within Cambodia, of sensitive items subject to the Export Administration Regulations. Concurrently, the Department of State imposed a U.S. arms embargo on Cambodia.

Expressing Washington’s commitment to “Cambodia’s independence and the sovereignty of its people,” Secretary Gina Raimondo urged the country’s government “to make meaningful progress in addressing corruption and human rights abuses, and to work to reduce the influence of the PRC military in Cambodia, which threatens regional and global security.”

Business Advisory

Last month, the U.S. Department of Treasury, together with the U.S. Departments of State and of Commerce, issued a joint advisory for businesses operating in Cambodia to caution against dealing with sectors potentially involved in human rights abuses and corruption.

The high-risk sectors include in particular: finance, real estate, gambling, infrastructure, manufacturing, and timber. In addition to significant reputational and economic risks of dealing with entities involved in trafficking in persons, wildlife, and/or narcotics, legal risks could include violations of money laundering/terrorist financing and proliferation financing laws, violations of U.S. and United Nations sanctions (in particular related to North Korea or Magnitsky sanctions) and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

According to the advisory, businesses “should consider the reputational, economic, and legal risks, and conduct due diligence into their supply chains” to understand whether they have exposure to risks in Cambodia. There are a number of resources to help businesses identify such risks including:


Stay in the loop, stay compliant! Get weekly or daily insights into all things trade and event invites, delivered right to your inbox.