Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Import ban on petrol aims at plugging leaks

Import ban on petrol aims at plugging leaks

Import ban on petrol aims at plugging leaks

Cambodia will prohibit land-based imports of refined petroleum products from January 1 to eliminate smuggling along the country’s borders and improve the efficiency of customs revenue collection, officials said yesterday.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), which announced the ban on December 20, transportation infrastructure already in place in the Kingdom allows petroleum companies that import their products by sea to distribute them nationwide, effectively eliminating the need for land-based imports.

A GDCE official, who declined to be named, explained yesterday that the import ban was unlikely to affect the supply or price of petrol in Cambodia as the major distribution companies receive their bulk petroleum shipments by sea.

“When we allowed land-based imports, there were many cases of smuggling,” he said. “With the new ban, the country’s petroleum distribution will be easier to manage and it will help the department get more revenue from customs.”

According to the Ministry of Commerce, 2.55 million tonnes of petroleum were imported in 2015, a 64 percent increase from the previous year.

Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry did not distinguish between land or sea-based imports in its figures, but said the opportunities for smuggling are much greater over land.

“We hope this new strategy will help the government manage the petroleum industry more efficiently,” she said.

Bin Many Mialia, marketing manager of PTT Cambodia, one of the country’s largest petroleum importers and distributors, welcomed the government’s deployment of the new measure, saying that decreasing smuggling will help level the playing field for petroleum distributors.

“We always want to have more transparency in the industry where all companies pay custom taxes,” he said. “If everyone pays taxes, it creates a fair system that benefits the country overall.”

However, smuggling still occurs by sea, and on a much larger scale, claims Yim Sovann, spokesperson for the Cambodia National Rescue Party. He added that the government was not intent on reducing the scale of smuggling because of the corruption associated with large-scale imports.

“The issue is not about importing petrol on land versus water, the issue is that customs officials have no willingness to reduce smuggling,” he said. “The issue is still about corruption, nepotism and a lack of political will to resolve the problem.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong