Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce has issued an ultimatum to Cambodia’s garment factories to sign up to the automated Certificate of Origin service by the end of the year or risk delays in receiving their certificate after this date.
“From 1 January 2015 onwards, the Ministry of Commerce will give priority over the issuance of CO for the companies that have registered with the online system,” a December 4 statement released from the Ministry of Commerce reads.
“[The Ministry of Commerce] will not be responsible for any delay in issuing CO for the companies that have not registered with the online system, even the issuance via the ordinary system,” the announcement continues.
A CO certifies a product’s place of origin and is a requirement for many export destinations. The process for gaining the certificate has been moved online in a bid to cut back on red tape and informal fee requests that occur in face to face applications to the ministry.
Since May, 426 garment and footwear factories have signed up to the commerce ministry’s automated system and over 17,000 certificates have been issued, according to the ministry’s announcement.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia senior officer Cheat Khemara said yesterday that his organisation was encouraging all members to apply for the automated service.
“It saves time and reduces unofficial payments,” he said. “It creates a better business environment.”