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NA approves e-commerce draft law

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A woman is checking online clothes shopping websites. The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the Kingdom’s draft law on e-commerce. Post Pix

NA approves e-commerce draft law

The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the Kingdom’s draft law on e-commerce.

The draft, which was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce with assistance from the Asian Development Bank, aims to regulate the Kingdom’s e-commerce in line with the international community, a National Assembly statement explained.

It is expected to provide increased opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to connect their supply chains to domestic and international markets, and promote innovation and the creation of more goods and services, the statement continued.

The draft consists of 12 chapters and 67 articles and will provide important ground rules for regulating Cambodia’s e-commerce, as well as boost confidence both domestically and internationally, it said.

It will actively contribute to the development of the digital economy in Cambodia and embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it added.

Chhea Layhy, director of the General Department of Small and Medium Enterprises and Handicraft under the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, said that as doing business online in Cambodia is currently unregulated, the law will have huge benefits for both investors and the government.

“Through this law, the government will not only get revenue from tax collection, but also control the activities of e-commerce to facilitate policy development, as well as encourage and strengthen the capacity of those in the SME sector,” he said.

Major challenges

Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia executive director Loek Sinrithy said the SME sector in Cambodia currently faces major challenges, such as product and service quality, a lack of technology adoption across production chains, a narrow market and a lack of capital.

“For me, the law on e-commerce will contribute a lot in promoting the use of technology and expanding the Cambodian market internationally,” said Sinrithy.

He said the law would also help promote transparency in e-commerce, as in the past many law-abiding investors have spoken out about the lawless nature of online businesses.

“As a legitimate company, I am happy with this law promoting transparent businesses,” he said.

Hong Vannak, a researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the draft law is a sign that the Kingdom is preparing to welcome the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He said the law would help prevent many disputes stemming from doing business electronically.

“This is another step towards increasing compliance in e-commerce in Cambodia. However, due to limited knowledge and law enforcement, Cambodia still needs more time to manage online commerce,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, Cambodia currently has more than 500,000 SMEs, of which less than 15 per cent are officially registered.

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