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NCAC seeking aid to continue operations

The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh in 2016.
The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh in 2016. Vireak Mai

NCAC seeking aid to continue operations

The National Commercial Arbitration Centre (NCAC) is seeking further support from the Commerce Ministry to continue operating, saying that fees collected from dispute claims are too small to cover the centre’s costs.

The NCAC, an independent body that works to resolve commercial disputes, was officially launched in 2013, but due to a lack of resources – including office space – it was relatively inactive until 2015 when it reached a deal with the commerce minister to receive assistance through 2017.

With that deal – which mostly involved free office space – having just ended, Ros Mornin, the NCAC’s president, said yesterday that he was sending a proposal to the ministry to extend the deal.

The centre needed the assistance to make ends meet, he said.

“The revenue we get from administration fees from dispute claims is very little, and it is not able to cover the cost of rent,” he said, adding that he was hopeful the ministry would support the NCAC’s operation. “When the centre is more active in the future, we hope that we’ll able to cover all costs on our own.”

The NCAC has now received five cases in total, Mornin said, with the first two now settled. For each case, parties are required to pay administration costs based on the size of the disputed claim and a $250 registration fee.

Lim Heng, vice president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said the NCAC offered crucial dispute-resolution options for businesses.

Businesses had now begun to put clauses in contracts stipulating that if a dispute arose, they would agree to bring the case to the NCAC rather than the courts, Heng said.

“Many business owners think that the legal system is time consuming and expensive,” he said. “I hope and believe that the ministry will provide further support to keep the centre operating.”

Seang Thai, a Commerce Ministry spokesman, said the ministry had not yet received the NCAC’s proposal, but noted that the ministry recognised the advantages of having the centre.

“Having the NCAC operate sustainably is our goal as it is important to build trust for investors,” Thai said.

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