The private sector has requested through the General Department of Customs and Excise eight challenge points to the government, to ease the burden on exports imports during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The proposals include strengthening the implementation of service charges by the General Department of Customs and Excise to: Reduce the burden on investment in the garment and agricultural sectors, strengthen the effectiveness of prevention and suppression of tax evasion, expand the scope of pre-arrival clearance, and improve e-payment procedures.

The private sector also requested in the statement to promote the implementation of SME customs incentives mechanisms, expand the number of members of the Best Business Group, and simplify and modernise customs procedures.

The proposals were cited during a special meeting between General Department of Customs and Excise director-general Kun Nhem and Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Kith Meng on Tuesday, the CCC said in a press release.

Garment Manufacturer Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post GMAC raised the issue of transport and logistics. While physical infrastructure has been upgraded and certain processes have been simplified and modernised, costs not substantially come down due to non-transparent fees.

He said a number of middlemen and brokers are involved in logistics. When the fees are not transparent, it gives them an opportunity to play around with the fees by inflating the amount.

“It’s a serious cost issue for small-value exports in particular because they are charged per document/shipment, not by export value. All parties involved need to be transparent,” Monika said.

He said GMAC has been working with customs and concerned parties such as brokers and forwarders, and shipping companies since the beginning of the year and progress has been made.

“It’s a little slow but we are optimistic of the continuous improvements in the future,” Monika said.

Meng said in the press release that after discussing the requested points meeting attendants agreed that each working group will continue to discuss and resolve issues and agreed to hold an eighth meeting of the Customs-Private Partnership Mechanism at an appropriate time in the future.

“We hope to have subsequent discussions to facilitate trade in Cambodia,” he said.

Nhem thanked the private sector for the input despite the challenges faced during the global coronavirus outbreak.

“The General Department of Customs and Excise is always willing to cooperate with the private sector in discussions to find a solution,” he said.