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Customs Reforms Unveiled to Bolster Private Sector Recovery

Phnom Penh: The General Department of Customs and Excise has unveiled a comprehensive set of reform measures aimed at aiding the private sector's recovery following the Prime Minister's directives. These measures encompass reductions in customs administration fees, streamlined import controls, enhanced public health safeguards, and simplified customs procedures.

The announcement of these reforms took place at the National Customs School on Monday morning, December 25, 2023, with the participation of officials from the General Department and representatives from the private sector.

Kun Nhem, the Director-General of the General Department of Customs, highlighted that these reforms stem from the outcomes of the 19th meeting between the government and the private sector in November 2023. These measures were proposed as part of the fourth point of responsibility entrusted to the General Department of Customs following the meeting.

The fourth point, out of the 10 points discussed in the November 2023 meeting between the government and the private sector, called for customs to facilitate export measures, enhance service efficiency, promote the adoption of electronic systems, extend the working hours of customs officials to include nighttime shifts, bolster the training and licensing of customs brokers, and strengthen oversight of the illegal importation of frozen pork, chicken, eggs, and fish.

"Some of these measures will be implemented at the beginning of 2024," Kun Nhem explained.

Starting in January 2024, the measures will include facilitating the expedited release of goods, enhancing service efficiency, and encouraging the adoption of electronic systems. Simultaneously, administrative costs will be reduced, and the control of frozen meat imports will commence in May 2024, in coordination with multiple ministries and institutions.

Kun Nhem acknowledged that the new measures would result in a reduction in revenue for the General Department but would significantly ease the private sector's burden.

"In essence, there will be sacrifices," he stated. The Royal Government is prepared to reduce expenditures in other relevant fee categories, demonstrating a willingness to make sacrifices to alleviate the private sector's challenges.

These new measures from the General Department of Customs come as part of a broader effort following Prime Minister Hun Manet's directives to strengthen Cambodia's competitiveness and contribute to building resilience in the national economy.

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