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Customs updates from conference hosted by VDB Loi and the General Department of Customs and Excise

August 31, 2012

Source: The Cambodia Daily
Author: Simon Lewis

Phnom Penh, 23 August 2012 –The department of customs and excise will begin certifying companies it deems trustworthy so that their goods have easier passage across Cambodia’s borders, an official said yesterday at a seminar in Phnom Penh.

Nuon Chanrith, the director of planning at the Finance Ministry’s general department of customs and excise (GDCE), said the government was working on implementing a program to certify firms as “authorized economic operators,” or AEOs.

Traders will receive ranks based on compliance with customs rules, he said, and the highest ranked companies would have to deal with less bureaucracy and have their goods exempt from physical inspections.

Mr. Chanrith said the move would help in “reconciling trade facilitation and trade security.”

“AEO traders will be able to enjoy many benefits for their businesses, such as quicker movement of cargo through customs, improved security levels, optimized supply-chain costs through security efficiencies and enhanced reputation for the organization,” Mr. Chanrith said.

Reports from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on investing in Cambodia often highlight how one of the biggest hurdles to doing business here is the complicated nature of getting goods through customs and excise, as well as the need to make informal payments to officials.

Edwin Vanderbruggen, a partner at the legal and tax firm VDB Loi, said that the legislation to implement the policy was already in place and welcomed the plan to bring it in.

“The government is pushing free trade arrangements [with other countries]. This will bring a higher volume of trade,” he said. “In order for the government to manage this traffic coming in, they need customs reform.”

Mr. Vanderbruggen said that the policy would allow customs officials to focus their efforts on identifying importers who try to avoid paying duty. Such companies would be hit with audits, he said.

That would also allow for companies involved in price dumping the practice of selling goods for less than they are worth to be clamped down on.

“Customs can record the value [of goods imported] and keep track of them,” Mr.  Vanderbruggen said. “They can identify that for no genuine reason, the value of a good falls though the bottom.”

(Source: Cambodia Daily)