Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal rice imports still pouring across border

Illegal rice imports still pouring across border

A man unloads a bag of rice at an export warehouse in Phnom Penh last year.
A man unloads a bag of rice at an export warehouse in Phnom Penh last year. Vireak Mai

Illegal rice imports still pouring across border

More than a month has elapsed since the government vowed to strengthen its borders to halt illegal imports of rice, yet little has been done to stem the flow of illicit rice shipments flooding into Cambodia from its foreign neighbours and undermining the export efforts of local producers.

“We are still waiting to hear from the government on how it is taking measures on our issues, including rice imports from Vietnam,” Moul Sarith, acting secretary-general of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), said yesterday.

“Until now, we did not receive any report from the government, though we’ve heard that the amount of imported rice has declined slightly.”

In March, the CRF called on the government to take urgent measures aimed at addressing two key challenges to the nation’s domestic rice industry, namely millers’ insufficient access to capital and the flood of illegal rice imports from neighbouring countries.

The request followed a separate initiative by the Cambodian Rice Industry Survival Implementation Strategy (CRISIS) group, which provided a nine-point action plan to address what it described as an industry on the brink of collapse.

On March 30, the government agreed to strengthen entry points along Cambodia’s borders to block illegal rice imports, while promising to dissolve any company’s certificate of origin that is caught mixing contraband rice for export.

Penn Sovicheat, director of the domestic trade department at the Ministry of Commerce, said that the government was still working to resolve the border control issue, but it was “impossible” to set a quota on imported rice due to Cambodia’s obligations to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

“It’s difficult to set a quota on rice imports as this contravenes AEC policy, but we can increase the tax on rice imports,” he said.

Sovicheat added that the government was also working toward implementing the other issues raised by rice millers and exporters.

On April 6, the government waived the value-added tax (VAT) on agricultural products in a bid to reduce the price that rice millers must pay for paddy in an effort to make locally milled rice more price-competitive.

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

  • 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,

  • 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