CAMBODIAN government officials have called on the US-ASEAN Business Council to help finalise implementation of the Kingdom’s first e-commerce law by year’s end.
“If possible, this law needs to be passed by the end of the year, as we are falling behind in our commitments to the World Trade Organisation,” Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said during a meeting with council ministers and major American companies last week.
The pending law was drafted in 2008, however, funding shortages delayed the formation of the legislation, which, once implemented, will have a significant impact on business within the country, he said.
“The e-commerce law is very important for Cambodia. Without it, we are unable to manage transactions online.”
The law will assist Cambodia’s small to medium-sized enterprises in expanding their global target market and increasing their profit, Cham Prasidh said.
“This is one of the only tools which can help SMEs to sell their products around the world, without having to go through large companies.”
He added that US-ASEAN Business Council had attempted to seek advice from Google officials based in Hanoi on drafting the legislation and operating the system once it is fully implemented.
“This system is brand new for Cambodia, so we require external expertise in order for this to be successful, not just in drafting the law, but implementing subsequent technology and legislation.”
However, US-ASEAN Business Council councillor Frances Zwening said Google did not provide an “in-depth response” to the request for assistance, but added that she will follow-up the correspondence.
Some global financial firms operating in the Kingdom have welcomed the proposed introduction of e-commerce and offered their assistance in the implementation.
“We understand that the technicality of implementing such a system is difficult, and as there are no restrictions on direct assistance from the private sector, we are more than willing to help,” said Richard J. Andrew, vice president for Asia Pacific of Mastercard Worldwide. “I think Cambodia has the potential to leapfrog neighbouring countries in the area of e-commerce and IT infrastructure,” he added.
Since joining the WTO in 2004, Cambodia has committed to enact some 47 laws or regulations, in order to strengthen the investment climate in the Kingdom and to meet the organisation’s requirements.