The government on May 18 announced tightened controls on the import of empty aluminium beverage cans to better serve domestic production, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

The move was revealed in a letter signed by GDCE director-general Kun Nhem and addressed to the heads of the departments, branches and offices of Customs and Excise.

Nhem said the order was based on the results of a May 3 Council of Ministers meeting with representatives of Medai GB Enterprise Co Ltd, Ganzberg Brewery and Crown Beverage Cans (Cambodia) Ltd concerning the domestic supply of empty aluminium cans for beer.

The GDCE chief called on relevant officials to keep closer tabs on companies that import the cans but are not registered as beverage-related businesses – often on behalf of domestic breweries and beverage companies – and ensure that they submit the proper forms to competent customs and excise officials.

The documents must clearly identify the label to be placed on the cans, contain a product description and outline the purpose for the supply, he said.

An official at Medai GB Enterprise, who asked not to be named, told The Post that his company orders cans from local manufacturers, but affirmed that the firm would comply with the order should it look elsewhere for its supply.

There are 13 registered brewery/beverage plant operators in the Kingdom, data from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation show.

These are Inter-Mattrid Beverage (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Hanuman Beverages Co Ltd, Vattanac Brewery Co Ltd, Ana Water and Smiler Beverage Co Ltd, Asian Sunrise Co Ltd, Heineken (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Cambrew Ltd, Daun Penh Food and Beverage Co Ltd, Khmer Beverage Co Ltd, Far East Import Export Co Ltd, Kingdom Breweries (Cambodia) Ltd, Media GB Enterprise Co Ltd, and Phnom Penh Beer Co Ltd.

GDCE revenue collection plummeted 15.2 per cent year-on-year to $614.8 million in the first quarter of this year, as revealed by the minutes of its first quarterly meeting held via video link.

In March alone, revenue reached $211.3 million, down by 4.7 per cent from March last year, GDCE figures show.

The largest sources of customs and excise revenue were vehicles and machinery (accounting for 43.5 per cent), petroleum and energy (22.8 per cent), construction materials and miscellaneous fees (6.3 per cent) and other products (27.4 per cent).

GDCE’s Nhem called on customs officials to assiduously hone their skills and be more proactive, intelligent and engaged in revenue collection to meet this year’s targets and surpass them.

This entails carrying out government policies and measures, preventing and cracking down on tax evasion and ensuring compliance with the law, as well as simplifying customs procedures and using information technology to improve trade facilitation and the overall investment climate, he said.