Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t pledges to cut red tape

Gov’t pledges to cut red tape

A woman at a farm in Muk Kampoul district packs washed vegetables into baskets for transportation to the local market
A woman at a farm in Muk Kampoul district packs washed vegetables into baskets for transportation to the local market on Monday. Heng Chivoan

Gov’t pledges to cut red tape

In a bid to make Cambodia more business-friendly, the government will cut back on red tape and reduce industry membership costs, Sun Chanthol, the new minister of commerce, said yesterday.

Speaking to representatives from the private sector at a conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, Chanthol outlined some new short-term initiatives that he said would increase the country’s competitiveness in key export sectors such as the garment industry.

“We will not be a manager of the private sector; we will cooperate to work closely with the private sector, with our dialogue partners to make Cambodia a competing place to invest and to do business,” he said.

Chanthol said the government would remove the requirement on all exporters to provide a Certificate of Origin (CO) when exporting to countries that did not require the accreditation. The government has traditionally required a CO on all exports leaving Cambodia, regardless of whether the receiving importer needs it.

The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which offers duty-free access for some products exported to the US, will also be made less cumbersome. While in the past exporters were required to renew their registration annually, Chanthol said yesterday that registration would become a one-off event.

The membership fee for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) will be reduced 20 per cent from $600 to $480 per year. The Commerce Ministry was also setting up a hotline for exporters to voice their concerns over non-compliant customs practices, Chanthol announced.

GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng welcomed the initiatives, which he said would go beyond Cambodia’s garment sector.

“[This is] definitely a great improvement, and I am sure that by having further support it is a great opportunity to bring more investors to Cambodia,” he told the Post.

Others were more cautious of the new measures.

Ho Vandy, co-chair of the government-private sector working group on tourism, was positive about the announcement but said that in practice, the reforms still needed to be tested.

“If it is true, the result will be seen in six months to a year,” he said. “If this commitment is just talk, we will see it fail after a year.”

Cambodia National Rescue Party whip Son Chhay said the real barrier to doing business was corruption from within the Ministry of Commerce.

“It is not efficiency if it is just an announcement from the minister,” Chhay said.

“There needs to be a clear mechanism, like providing higher salaries to officers to discourage them from saying they won’t [process business documents] without demanding an ‘unofficial payment’ from businesses.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,