A clear understanding of customs procedures and regulations is crucial to enhance fair competition and strengthen compliance in the private sector, said General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) director-general Kun Nhem.

Speaking at the second Cambodian Customs Forum, organised by the GDCE and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) last weekend, Nhem said the private sector is a key partner of the government in stimulating economic growth.

“This forum is part of an effort to raise awareness among the public, especially businesspeople, on laws, regulations, labour regulations and customs procedures. This will boost trade facilitation, enhance fair competition and strengthen compliance as well as improving the fiscal culture in Cambodia. These are all important aspects of the process of inclusive economic development,” he added.

CCC president Kith Meng explained that the forum was part of the Customs-Private Sector Partnership Mechanism, which was established in 2010 to help solve problems which hindered private companies, both domestic and international, from doing business in the Kingdom.

“Through this mechanism, the business environment related to international trade in Cambodia has gradually improved. The GDCE can easily respond to requests from companies that are involved in international trade, in a timely manner. This has been invaluable, particularly in the context of current global supply chains, which have been disrupted by crises,” he said.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said a clear understanding of procedures and regulations related to customs issues is essential in order to gain access to benefits such as trade facilitation or the enjoyment of export or import tax benefits on certain goods.

“Businessmen and investors, both domestic and foreign, must clearly understand the customs regulations of the Kingdom. Some tariff preferences are subject to free trade with certain partner countries, which could be a major benefit for them to grow their business,” he added.

The GDCE said the forum has provided information to the private sector on a number of customs issues, including the implementation of pre-shipment procedures and Phase III of both the National Single Window (NSW) and the ASEAN single Window system. It was also a venue for discussion on the Kingdom’s investment laws.