Stringent rules to prove that rice exported from Cambodia is actually from Cambodia will be detailed today, according to a copy of a joint agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and industry associations.
The Code of Conduct seeks to reassure the European Union that rice is local and not mixed with grain from Vietnam in an attempt to boost exports. The allegation first emerged in industry publication Oryza about two months ago.
The EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme gives developing countries like Cambodia duty-free access to European markets. Adding rice from any other country to exports would make the product ineligible for the special treatment.
“This COC is to prove that we are clean, honest and we do not cheat in our business,” said Kim Savuth, president of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Exporters, a co-signatory to the Code of Conduct.
Exporters requesting a certificate of origin from the Ministry of Commerce will be required to show proof through invoices and receipts that the rice is local.
An audit committee consisting of both industry and non-industry representatives is tasked with investigating claims of fraud.
Penalties include the permanent revocation of an exporter’s certificate of origin, which strips the business of duty-free access to Cambodia’s largest market.
The Code of Conduct goes into effect a month from today on March 17.