Dr Sok Siphana




After spending all his adolescent life in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Dr Sok Siphana went to the United States as a refugee in 1980. There he worked in the private sector as a consultant for small businesses until the advent of the Paris peace Accords in 1993 when he decided to return home. For the next several years, Dr SOK worked for various international organizations such as UNDP, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in various consultancy capacities.  

Dr SOK has unique experiences and insights related to the development of the Cambodian legal system, the business environment and the intricacy of the commercial and investment law evolution in Cambodia in the past 20 years. His vast hands on experiences as a former Commerce Secretary of State (Vice Minister) in the Cambodian Government, where he worked extensively on issues related to commercial and investment legal framework, trade promotion, trade policies, trade development, and economic intégration, gives him a unique perspective on both the macro and micro needs of businesses and foreign investors alike. In the area of policy formulation and policy mainstreaming he was responsible for leading a large multidisciplinary inter-agency task force, made up of more than 100 senior government officials and private sector representatives, to prepare complex action plans (including the National Legislative and Regulatory Agenda) and to negotiate successfully Cambodia's accession to the WTO. He was also instrumental in initiating the development of the first ever trade Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) for Cambodia.  

Dr SOK is foremost an excellent lawyer and advocate. During his tenure at the Commerce Ministry, he was responsible not only for the preparation of the various commercial laws currently in force, but for their defense in front of the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly and the Senate. He has written abundantly on trade and development, legal and investment issues and has worked closely with the donor and business communities.  

After Cambodia’s accession to the WTO, Dr SOK left the Government in October 2005 to join the International Trade Center (ITC) as Director of the Division of Technical Cooperation Coordination. ITC is a joint technical agency of the WTO and UNCTAD headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. During his tenure in Geneva, he led and supervised the design and implementation of numerous country and regional projects and programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. 

In July 2009, Dr SOK decided to leave the UN/WTO family to return to serve once again his homeland. He was subsequently appointed by the Prime Minister, Samdech Decho Hun Sen, as Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia with rank of Minister. He is a practicing attorney and the Principal at SOK Siphana & Associates, a law and consulting firm specialized in international trade and corporate law in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Dr SOK is holder of a Juris Doctor from the Widener University School of Law in Delaware, United States (1992) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Bond University School of Law in Queensland, Australia (2009). His Ph.D. thesis title is on the Role of Law and Legal Institutions in Cambodia Economic Development: Opportunities to Skip the Learning Curve. Dr. SOK is admitted to both the Cambodian Bar and the Pennsylvania Bar (inactive status).


Personal Details

Name: Sok Siphana

Born: 16 April 1960
Education: Juris Doctor (J.D.), Widener University School of Law, Delaware, (USA), 1992; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Bond University School of Law, Queensland (Australia), 2009.

Marital Status: Married to Khieu Mealy with 1 daughter, Rosette, and 1 son, Samithi.

Foreign Languages: English and French (fluent), Spanish (working knowledge) and Khmer (mother tongue).

Notable Engagements – 2011 - Present

  • Convenor of a weekly 30 minutes talk show at SEATV: Cambodia’s Global Dialogue (Every Thursday at 9 PM and Satuday at 8 AM). More than 130 shows seen on www.seatelevision.com and on Utube.
  • Cambodia’s Sherpa for the G20 under the Mexican Presidency 2012.
  • Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Cambodia Chairmanship of ASEAN.
  • Taskforce member on Substantive Issues for the ASEAN Summits and Related Summits.
  • Alternate ASEAN India Eminent Person and ASEAN US Eminent Person.
  • Senior Official (SOM) to the 9th Asia EU (ASEM) Summit.

Professional Membership
Member of Cambodian Bar (active status) and Pennsylvania Bar (inactive status).

Other International Activities and Affiliations

  • Regional Advisor, UN ESCAP ARTNET.
  • Member of: Advisory Board, UN ESCAP Asia Pacific Business Forum; Advisory Board/Environment, Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF); International Trademark Association (INTA).

Other National Activities and Affiliations

  • Chairman of the Board, Cambodian Development Resource Institute (CDRI)
  • Advisor, Federation of Associations of SMEs of Cambodia (FASMEC)
  • Member, Bar Council of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Board member, Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP)
  • Vice President, ICT Business Association (ICTBA)
  • Past Member: Board, International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP); Secretary-General, Bar Council of the Kingdom of Cambodia (1995)


Professional Recognition

  • Leading Lawyer, General Business - Chambers Asia (2011-2012)
  • Recognized as one of the ‘movers and shakers under 50s’ by Asia Inc in 2004
  • Honorary Scholar, Center For International Legal Studies of Salzburg, Austria

Awards and Honours