The smartphone app “Cambodia Customs Trader” has made life easier for importers and exporters since its initial release in mid-September, as a go-to platform with the forms and crucial information needed to navigate the evolving international trade landscape.
The app helps businesspeople and customs brokers keep track of customs declarations and clearance statuses, electronic tax payments, among other things, said the developer, the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, in a statement on July 22.
The statement noted that a user guide can be found on the GDCE’s official website, and that the app is available on both the Play Store and App Store – although the latter currently requires iOS 11.0 or later.
Speaking to The Post on July 26, GDCE spokesman Keam Chankosal said the app is meant to be used exclusively by entities involved in import-export that are registered on the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), an integrated computerised customs-management system for international trade operations.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on July 26 that the app offers a host of benefits for businesspeople based in the Kingdom, making it easier for them to keep tabs on paperwork for inbound and outbound shipments with just a smartphone, from anywhere in the world.
The app also contains easy-to-find information concerning item-specific import tax rates or applicable restrictions, he said.
Heng stressed the convenience of the app, especially in the context of Covid-19, and reflected on bygone times when he said the only recourse for import-export issues would be a time-consuming visit to Customs.
Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia (Loscba) president Chea Chandara echoed Heng’s remarks, saying that the app helps businesspeople and customs brokers find the necessary documents, such as those for the permit application process.
“Customs has made great efforts to provide services to the public via digital and electronic systems, which have made things easier for our businesspeople,” he said.
In a similar bid to improve trade facilitation, the GDCE also launched the “Cambodia Customs Tariff for 2022”, revised from the 2017 edition, to better enable businesspeople to calculate import duties and taxes, and identify goods by category and restriction status.
“Trade facilitation” is the general term for the overall framework of measures aimed at removing legal and technical obstacles across the full spectrum of border procedures to help make the international movement of imports and exports cheaper, easier, faster and more efficient and predictable, while safeguarding safety, security, health and other legitimate regulatory goals.
GDCE data showed that in the first half of 2022, Cambodia’s international trade totalled $27.244 billion, which was up by 20.2 per cent on a yearly basis.
Of that, imports grew by 11.9 per cent year-on-year to $15.865 billion, while exports were valued at $11.379 billion, up by 33.9 per cent. The Kingdom’s trade deficit for the first half narrowed by 21 per cent year-on-year to $4.486 billion.