Often stumbling through a maze of rules from overlapping authorities, the Kingdom's
export industries can look forward to a simpler source to guide them: the Small and
Medium Enterprise Export Booklet.
At the request of Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, the International Finance Corporation
provided funds and subcontracted Emerging Markets Consulting (EMC) to assemble the
Prasidh initiated the project last year following pleas by exporters for clarification
on export rules and procedures
EMC collected information from different ministries and compiled the information
into a user-friendly guide containing all the principal rules and procedures relating
to export in Cambodia, said EMC consultants Mark Taylor and Srun Sroy.
The booklet, an advanced draft of which was provided to the Post, outlines the current
export processes at each of the key Cambodian land, water and air export locations
- the ports of Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh International Airport, and
the Poipet and Bavet land crossings.
The introduction of the booklet is timely - a month ago Cambodia ranked 145th out
of 178 countries for the second consecutive year in the annual "Ease of Doing
Business" World Bank-IFC rankings, which are based on 10 categories of business
regulation including cross-border trade.
The Export Booklet is part of the larger effort to bring demand-side issues to the
government, said IFC project consultant James Brew.
"For years the private sectors had been identifying costly procedures that were
anti-competitive, and the government came to recognize the need for a more transparent
Brew said the 53-page booklet is slated for release by the end of November.
By breaking down the export process in easily digested terms, the booklet should
most benefit small companies, which tend not to have substantial technical staff.
Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia,
explained: "In Cambodia the process is still very much a manual process with
the need to run to many different government agencies. SMEs may not have the human
resources to fully understand this process and may be wasting much of their time
barking up the wrong tree. With this booklet, they will know where to go and who
Aiding the growth of Cambodia's budding industrial sectors could help diversify Cambodia's
economy, which relies heavily on a few industries, garments in particular.
The Export Booklet may also expedite trade reform. "While its content is not
new, the hope is that creating a transparent source will allow streamlining to take
place," Brew said.
"Many of the government officials are unclear of the whole process themselves
and only know their own areas of work," Loo said. "This booklet will provide
the leaders with a helicopter view of the whole process, and when we compare this
with our neighboring countries and competitors, we will be able to see that we lag
behind in many areas and hopefully this will lead to some improvements."