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Government: No Chinese goods skirting US tariffs at SSEZ

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The Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) is a multi-purpose business and trade zone bringing together international entrepreneurs. XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

Government: No Chinese goods skirting US tariffs at SSEZ

No Chinese goods have been found to be exported from Cambodia to the US to avoid US-imposed tariffs on China, a Ministry of Commerce statement said on Sunday.

US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes previously told The Post on Thursday that the US Department of Homeland Security had fined some Chinese companies which operate in the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ).

The firms allegedly violated the US customs ban by passing goods from China through Cambodia to the US to avoid tariffs. He did not specify the types of goods.

But the ministry said the US side affirms that Chinese goods exported from Cambodia include amino acids, steel tubes and powdered grains – including corn, milled rice and potatoes.

‘Does not reflect the reality’

A ministry spokesman on Thursday told The Post that the ministry had sent a team on that day to inspect SSEZ and present their findings.

Two days after the probe, the ministry rejected Zwartjes’ claims.

Ministry spokesman Seang Thay told The Post on Sunday that the US embassy officials’ comments did not reflect the reality.

Two of the products in question – food powder and steel tubes – are not produced at SSEZ. Amino acids haven’t been produced since 2017.

“The US Embassy’s claims may have something to them that I am not aware of. But for us, after obtaining the information, we immediately sent experts down to inspect, but we found nothing.”

US Embassy officials declined to comment on Sunday.

The ministry said SSEZ is a multi-purpose business and trade zone bringing together Chinese, Cambodian, US, Japanese, French, South Korean, Irish, Vietnamese and Thai entrepreneurs, through the production of diverse goods such as textiles, garments, bags, footwear and other equipment.