How to do business in Cambodia
The regulatory environment is complex and subject to change. You should consult the DIT team in Cambodia at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-cambodia
#contact-us for assistance, and to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements in Cambodia.
Export licences for Cambodia
You must have a licence to supply anything to Cambodia on the UK strategic export control lists.
You can find out more about getting a licence to export military or dual use goods, services or technology to Cambodia at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/beginners-guide-to-export-controls.
To find out which products will need certification or licensing before they can be exported to Cambodia, see: https://www.gov.uk/starting-to-export/licences.
Standards and technical regulations
Food safety regulations
Cambodia follows CODEX standards for food safety while it works to develop its own regulations. In the meantime, local legal decree Prakas 868 provides a legal framework for food safety, and several Ministries – including the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries – are working to develop food registration and import regulations. It is important to consult on these fast-changing developments with local partners or the government ministries themselves, in order to confirm current information.
Food safety is also governed by the “Law on the Management of Quality and Safety of Products and Services”, available at: http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/law-on-the-management-of-quality-and-safety-of-products-and-services_000626.html.
Local partners who can assist with understanding food safety regulations can include distributors, law firms, market entry strategy firms, and market research firms, as well the Department of Drugs and Food within the Ministry of Commerce.
Note that food products with an expiration date must have a 50% minimum remaining shelf life at the time of inspection.
You should consider taking out product liability insurance if you manufacture or supply a physical product that is sold or given away for free. See: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/business-insurance/liability-insurance/product-liability-insurance/.
[Source – “Opportunities for Consumer Goods in Cambodia” Labelling your products for Cambodia – an insider’s look at the changing Cambodian Consumer”, BritCham Cambodia/EuroCham Cambodia/DIT]
Cambodia requires all packaged food products to provide expiration dates and to have bar codes printed on packages.
Though labels are not required for all products, if a product requires a label, the label must be approved by the appropriate Ministry before importing.
Information on labelling requirements is available at the website of the Ministry of Commerce, Department of Intellectual Property: http://cambodiaip.gov.kh.
The specific law, enacted in December 2000, is called the “Prakas on Cambodian Standard CS 001-2000 Labelling of Food Product”, and is available at: cambodiaip.gov. kh/DocResources/ fd2f5db5-5b83-4886- b471-40c33d9ed20d_ c786a043-b88d-4f64-9429- 60a330efdc5f-en.pdf.
Labelling requirements include but may not be limited to:
name of product
name and address of party responsible for the product (producer, packager or traders)
source of the product
quantity, weight, volume
lot numbers and date of manufacturing
date of expiry
licence number if required
[Source – BritCham Cambodia/EuroCham Cambodia/DIT]
Protecting your intellectual property (IP)
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of intellectual property protection available under common law. They are all governed by legislation. The common law also provides protection against a person passing off goods or services as those of another, as well as protection for confidential information or trade secrets.
Cambodia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is thus a signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which sets international standards for various aspects of IP – see: https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/cambodia_e.htm. It is also a signatory to a number of international intellectual property (IP) treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Businesses are encouraged to learn more about IP issues relevant to their specific industry sector and to consider defensive measures early in their plans to enter the Cambodian market.
Cambodia is part of the ASEAN Patent Examination Co-operation (ASPEC), a regional patent work-sharing programme among nine participating ASEAN Member States (AMS). The purpose of this programme is to share search-and-examination results between the participating offices to allow applicants in participating countries to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. ASPEC is free of charge and operates in English.
Businesses are generally encouraged to learn more about IP issues relevant to their specific industry sector and to consider defensive measures early in their plans to enter the Cambodian market.
Useful information on protecting your IP in Cambodia can be can be found at:
The Intellectual Property Office – the UK Government agency providing free and impartial advice on protecting and registering your IP in the UK and abroad. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office.
The UK Intellectual Property Office has an IP attachée based in Singapore: firstname.lastname@example.org with specific focus on providing support and advice to UK companies in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
[Source – DIT/ gov.uk]
Cambodia is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). See: http://asean.org/.
The ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) is part of the Asian Economic Community (AEC) agreement among the ten ASEAN countries, which allows free movement of goods and services with 0% tax.
However, the tax regulatory environment in Cambodia is complex and subject to change. You should consult the DIT team in Cambodia for assistance, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-cambodia.
Note that there is no double taxation agreement between the UK and Cambodia.
Import duties are levied on all imported goods, unless exempted from duty. It is unlikely that a European exporter will qualify for exemption. A list of exemptions is maintained by the Council for the Development of Cambodia. See: http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/.
Importers must pay three types of duties and taxes before imported goods are released from customs, and these taxes are cumulative:
Customs import duties with an ad-valorem rate
Special tax for certain goods, including excise tax ranging from 10% to 25% on wine and beverages
Value Added Tax (VAT) of 10%
The tariff band that applies to a typical FMCG import at present is 35% for alcohol and most finished products. Imported high value food and beverage products such as frozen meat, wines, cheese, and frozen seafood, are subject to a 15-35% import tariff rate. Fresh fruits and vegetables are subject to 7% import duty.
An excise tax of 10-15% is applied to imported wines and other alcoholic beverages on top of the import duty.
A detailed list of import duties can be found at the Cambodia National Trade Repository: http://www.cambodiantr.gov.kh/.
[Source – BritCham Cambodia/EuroCham Cambodia/DIT]
Customs and documentation
Complying with HMRC regulations to export to Cambodia
You must make export declarations to HMRC through the National Export System (NES) to export your goods to Cambodia. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-declarations-and-the-national-export-system-export-procedures.
You can find out how to declare your exports to Cambodia through the NES at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-declarations-and-the-national-export-system-export-procedures. You must classify your goods as part of the declaration, including a commodity code and a Customs Procedure Code (CPC).
Commodity codes and other measures applying to exports in the UK Trade Tariff can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff.
Contact the HMRC Tariff Classification Service at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-600-classifying-your-imports-or-exports/notice-600-classifying-your-imports-or-exports#list-of-useful-contacts for more help.
You must declare any goods that you take with you in your luggage to sell outside the EU. See: https://www.gov.uk/take-goods-sell-abroad for further information.
Temporary export of goods to Cambodia
Cambodia does not recognise the ATA (Admission Temporaire/(Temporary Admission) Carnet system. You therefore need to use a Duplicate List to temporarily export goods to Cambodia. As with an ATA Carnet, you do not have to pay customs duty or tax. There is no fee. See: https://www.gov.uk/taking-goods-out-uk-temporarily/duplicate-list.
Before you export the goods, prepare a list on company stationery. Including:
a description of the goods
how many there are
serial numbers, if the goods have them
value of the goods
At customs, you will need to provide:
two copies of the list
a completed HMRC form C&E 1246. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system
/uploads/attachment_data/file/374161/ce1246.pdf (PDF, 638 KB).
Contact the HMRC Imports and Exports Helpline in advance to make the arrangements:
Telephone: 0300 200 3700
Textphone: 0300 200 3719
Outside the UK: +44 29 2050 1261
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
[Source – DIT/gov.uk]
At present there are few requirements for bringing products into Cambodia, such as permits or food safety certifications – although this may change as the nation works to improve its regulatory infrastructure. Paperwork and bureaucracy can be among the greatest hurdles; working with a local importer or distributor to prepare forms ahead of time can help.
Imported goods typically enter the country through four major ports: Sihanoukville, Tomnop Rolork, Phnom Penh Dryport, and Phnom Penh International Airport. Sihanoukville is the main port of entry for sea cargo, and Phnom Penh International Airport is the main port of entry for air cargo. Import process for each port is different and current details can be found at: www.customs.gov.kh.
Given the complexity of requirements, and the fact that they can change at any time, you are strongly advised to use the services of a local agent who can advise on the latest regulations. You can consult the DIT team in Cambodia for assistance, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-cambodia#contact-us.
You can find more about import tariffs in the Market Access Database at: http://madb.europa.eu/madb/indexPubli.htm.
The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (“Customs”) requires importers to declare imports using documents that it specifies based on factors including origin and type of product. These may include a bill of lading, invoices, packing lists, and more.
It is important to check with local importers and distributors, or relevant government ministries, in order to understand the specific requirements for particular imports – especially as these are changing quickly.
Some local distributors are able to manage this process as part of their service, and there are also a number of logistics companies specialised in customs brokerage. There is a local logistics association – The Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association – that can assist in finding these companies: www.camffa.org.kh.
[Source – BritCham Cambodia/EuroCham Cambodia/DIT]
Shipping your goods to Cambodia
If you are not knowledgeable about international shipping procedures you can use a freight forwarder to move your goods. A forwarder will have extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices in Cambodia.
You can find freight forwarding companies to help you transport your goods to Cambodia via the British International Freight Association (BIFA) at: http://www.bifa.org/home or the Freight Transport Association (FTA) at: http://www.fta.co.uk/.
Posting goods to Cambodia
You can find out about sending goods by post to Cambodia at: https://www.parcelforce.com/worldwide-directory/cambodia.
Shipping restricted, banned and dangerous goods to Cambodia
You should work with a local agent who can advise on the latest import licensing requirements.
Special rules apply if you are shipping dangerous goods to Cambodia. See: https://www.gov.uk/shipping-dangerous-goods/what-are-dangerous-goods for more information.
Contact the DIT team in Cambodia at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-cambodia#contact-us for assistance and information about third-party advisers.
Terms of delivery to Cambodia
Your contract should include agreement on terms of delivery using incoterms: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-trade-paperwork-the-basics#international-trade-contracts-and-incoterms.
UK Export Finance
The government can provide finance or credit insurance specifically to support UK exports through UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the UK’s export credit agency. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance.
For up-to-date country-specific information on the support available see UKEF’s cover policy and indicators for Cambodia at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/country-cover-policy-and-indicators#cambodia.
[Source – DIT/UKEF/gov.uk]
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