Cambodian authorities will remove the requirement on exporters to provide a Certificate of Origin (CO) when exporting goods to destinations for which it is not needed, the newly elected minister of commerce said yesterday.
A CO certifies a product's place of origin, and until now it was a requirement on all products leaving Cambodia’s shores despite whether it is needed by importing countries.
The Minister of Commerce Sun Chanthol said the removal of the CO will strengthen procedures for local exports.
“Today I am happy to inform you that I already proposed to the Prime Minister Hun Sen to remove the issue of CO to countries which do not [require it]. Hun Sen quickly approved to remove it,” Chanthol said at a two-day meeting with private sector representatives at the Hotel InterContinental in Phnom Penh yesterday.
“Today I will sign the announcement to remove the CO [for exports] to the US, Japan and some other countries [which do not require a CO],” he said.
Chanthol added that he met with private companies to discuss the possibility of implementing an automated electronic CO system, where, for those importing countries still requiring it, local exporters will be able to apply and pay a fee online.
“Later on, the exporters do not need to come to the Ministry of Commerce, they are just at their office, [in the] factory and can write down information in the computer, then we will look at it at the ministry and then we will issue [a confirmation for the CO],” Chanthol said.
“The fee for the CO will be withdrawn from the bank account of the exporter so the CO can be printed anywhere and wherever they want,” he added.
Ken Loo, secretary-general of Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia welcomed the idea.
“Well, it is good because we won’t make more expenses [both official and unofficial] for applying for the CO which the buyers do not need, that’s really important,” he said.
“It can also reduce the factory’s expenses. And, we also won’t waste much time on preparing the documents.”
Lim Bun Heng, president of the largest local milled rice exporting company, Loran Import-Export Company, also welcomed the initiative, saying that it would be advantageous for local exporters.
“I really support the idea because it is not necessary for us to apply for it [CO] for some countries which do not need it,” he said.
“The minister of commerce decided to do it, so it is a good move for us as an exporter because it can reduce unnecessary expenses . . . causing us to lose our competitive advantage at the global market.”
“If the government keeps on reducing the unnecessary expenses, I do believe our export prices will be much lower than in the global market.”
He added that most of his milled rice was exported to European and Asian countries which still required a CO.
Heng said normally it takes at least three days to receive a CO.
Sun Chanthol said yesterday the commerce ministry needs between six to nine months for testing the program before it officially launches.