Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MoC to crack down on 'unethical' rice exporters

MoC to crack down on 'unethical' rice exporters

A man harvests his rice crop in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district last month
A man harvests his rice crop in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district last month. Vireak Mai

MoC to crack down on 'unethical' rice exporters

The Ministry of Commerce is ramping up its efforts to stamp out “unethical” rice exporters mixing their produce with rice from neighbouring countries, as the European Union becomes increasingly concerned about rice tampering.

In an open letter issued on May 11 the ministry said it will stop issuing Certificates of Origin to exporters found to be using non-Cambodian rice, as this could lead to the European Union withdrawing its duty-free trade preferences that Cambodia enjoys under the Everything But Arms agreement.

“Recently, the EU has increased monitoring of rice imports to investigate the origins of rice imported, with the aim to pause or ban the import of rice without clear origins,” the letter reads.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) urged the president of Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), rice exporters and millers to strictly comply with the code of conduct on rice exports to the EU agreed upon last year.

“MOC will have a group of inspectors who will launch surprise inspections in rice exporting companies and rice millers to investigate the issue,” the letter added.

The code of conduct was created to ensure that rice exported from Cambodia was actually grown in Cambodia and not mixed with Vietnamese rice, after Oryza, an industry publication, reported the EU raising concerns last year.

The EU Ambassador to Cambodia Jean-Francois Cautain said yesterday that the EU had become increasingly concerned recently and that ensuring the Kingdom’s rice exports were 100 per cent homegrown was the responsibility of the Cambodian
authorities.

“Indeed, as for any other product exported to the EU under EBA, were the rule of origin not respected, it may lead to an investigation by the EU,” he said in an email.

“We are welcoming the constructive approach of both the Royal Government of Cambodia and the rice exporters in putting in place proper mechanisms to ensure that the rule of origin is fully respected for rice exports to the EU.”

Kan Kunthy, CEO of Battambang Rice Investment Company, said yesterday that the problem came down to “only a few unethical exporters” that the MoC and CRF were currently investigating. “It will cause a huge impact on rice industry if the EU no longer granted Cambodia with EBA, as 50 per cent of the country’s total exports go to the EU.”

Kunthy said that the EBA was a crucial stepping stone to maintaining growth in the sector but that they need to prepare for withdrawal of the scheme once Cambodia moves to a middle-income status.

“All we can do without EBA is to increase our competitiveness and compete with other exporters from the region,” he added.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANANTH BALIGA

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The