A shoe exporter has become the first company in Cambodia to receive a Certificate of Origin (CO) to export goods to China under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ratified in October last year.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay told The Post on March 1 that after the free trade agreement came into force in the Kingdom on January 1, Wincrown (Cambodia) Industrial Co Ltd has been the first to be issued a licence to export goods to China. The company has so far exported 6,582 pairs of shoes to China under the agreement.
To facilitate the export timeline, the ministry is allowing exporters to begin exporting goods first before applying for a CO at a later date, according to Thay. Wincrown exported the shoes on February 3 and applied for the CO at the ministry, which issued the certificate on February 22.
He added that “two or three” other companies had inquired about CO applications for the right to produce goods for export under the agreement.
“Applying for a CO from the Ministry of Commerce is not complicated, as it can be done online like any other application,”
he said. “I expect that in the future, there will be more companies applying for the certification.”
Ky Sereyvath, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that applications for COs to export goods were still low because the Kingdom’s production capacity is still small, and has been further strained by supply and labour issues stemming from the Covid-19 crisis.
He added that Cambodia’s production remains limited, especially in the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, due to the effects of Covid-19, but called on other signatories to the RCEP to continue making full use of their domestic production facilities and capabilities.
The agreement may be relatively new, but Sereyvath predicts that there will be significantly more companies exporting under the pact in 2023, because the market will be readjusted by that time to reveal the real costs of production.
The commerce ministry says it plans to hold workshops for producers and exporters in the near future to help boost exports under the RCEP, as well as under the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement – which also entered into effect on January 1.