Senior government officials and development partners are optimistic that the Law on Consumer Protection will promote integrity in competition and trade and cut down on unfair business practices in Cambodia once it is fully implemented.
The statement was made at the “National Workshop on Dissemination and Planning of the Implementation of the Law on Consumer Protection in Cambodia” held on November 26 in Phnom Penh.
Comprising 11 chapters and 51 articles, the law was passed on November 2, last year, but is pending a sub-decree that fills in the gaps to ensure effective implementation.
Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Mao Thora said businesses have to show ethical responsibility and acknowledge the importance of effective consumer protection, which he said would provide them with added consumer confidence and support.
He said the law would ensure consumers’ rights to safe, high-quality goods and set a crucial legal standard that will contribute to social harmony and sustainable economic development.
It will also strengthen Cambodia’s ties with ASEAN member states and other countries, he said.
“Once fully implemented, the law will facilitate pro-competitive practices and protect consumers who are vulnerable to scams,” Thora said.
Frank Jattke, the team leader for GIZ-ASEAN projects in Cambodia, noted that the “Consumer Protection in ASEAN” (PROTECT) regional project aims to reinforce consumer protection system in selected ASEAN countries with support at national and regional levels.
This, he said, includes providing technical assistance to enhance regional cooperation, institutional and legal framework development and dispute resolution mechanisms.
“Fostering a pro-consumer culture through the engagement of public and private stakeholders is part of our approach,” Jattke said.
He said input gathered at the workshop would provide vital insight on how best to spruce up national mechanisms as instruments of consumer protection enforcement.
“Ultimately, these are also expected to be used for the initial mapping of issues and identifying relevant stakeholders for future consumer protection activities,” he said.
Thora said the effective implementation of consumer protection laws hinges on spreading awareness of consumer rights.
He suggested that sectoral consumer organisations be set up to safeguard the rights and interests of its members and advocate for them. These, he said, are explicitly mentioned in the Law on Consumer Protection and are indispensable.
“Once the law is officially implemented, consumers can sue through their associations to protect their interests,” he said.