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Smuggled noodles hit sales, company claims

Smuggled noodles hit sales, company claims

A Cambodian instant noodle maker has claimed Vietnamese products smuggled across the Kingdom’s borders hit sales hard last year, putting the future of employees at risk.

Choun Kul, deputy director of Mee Yeung Company, part of Men Sarun Group, said its annual sales dropped as much as 20 percent last year, when compared with 2009.

Putting the blame on the management of borders, he alleged incorrect recording of import numbers meant that Vietnamese products were entering the market without being charged duty, providing “unfair” competition from imports.

Mee Yeung Company, he said, produced 150,000 cases of instant noodles per month. The market price of each packet, he said, was 50 riel more expensive per packet than that of Vietnamese noodles – many of which he believes benefit from not being charged import tax.

“This act doesn’t only result in the loss of the government’s revenue, but also creates an unfair competitive environment,” he said.

“We also export to Vietnam, and we have to register all our products – so we are fully responsible for all duties,” he said, adding that the firm did benefit from a 7 percent reduction in import tax on its raw materials.

He said that some of the hundreds of workers at the company could risk unemployment and the firm spent US$50,000 to $60,000 every month on salaries.

“It’s a hardship for us, if the government still does not consider this problem, how can we address it?” he said.

But officials poured doubt on the claims Tuesday.

Governor of Kampot province Khoy Khun Huor said that he believes the registration of imported goods at provincial borders was being completed correctly – pointing out that tax revenues had risen 11 percent last year, compared with 2009.

“The majority of revenue comes from sugar products and noodles,” he said before pointing out that “our domestic noodles are sold at a more expensive price”.

Yim Sam On, the director of customs and excise at Bavet border, in Svey Riang province, said Tuesday that no noodle products were imported through the crossing.

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