The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on July 8 advised owners of local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to understand and follow the legal procedures for export to streamline the process and reduce compliance issues.
The recommendation was made at a Consultation Workshop on “Cambodia SMEs Exports”, held by the CCC under the public-private partnership framework, the chamber’s director-general Nguon Meng Tech told The Post later in the day.
The meeting aimed to lend support for Cambodian SMEs and other stakeholders – who shared experiences, opinions and concerns in the field – and provide them with pointers on how to gather information and export in an easier and more efficient way, he said, adding that tax procedures accounted for the bulk of the issues raised.
SME owners also shared how much time and money they now save after understanding the relevant legal procedures, Meng Tech said, adding that Cambodian fiscal and business laws offer many benefits for the smooth running of business and export operations, especially for SMEs, and are “not oppressive or complicated”.
Keo Mom, the CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, one of the Kingdom’s largest food processing enterprises, commented that most SME owners lack a clear understanding of workflow management and legal procedures, which results in these export barriers and excessive complications.
“But, we believe that any job, no matter what it may be, will only be difficult in the beginning. Once an SME owner can maintain a flow and adequately follow the rules, they’ll be able to ensure that operations run smoothly,” she said.
Another lingering challenge for SMEs is the struggle of booking a vessel to ship their products abroad, amid rampant demand, although shipping rates have been on a steady decline, Mom said.
Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (Fasmec) president Te Taingpor noted that although many of the issues facing SMEs can be easily remedied, this is not so for the ongoing surge in fuel prices and shortage in freight shipping containers.
“Next week we will hold a meeting with stakeholders on the issue of rising oil prices, which will increase transportation costs accordingly.
“Cambodia has free trade agreements [FTA] with China and South Korea and the RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership] – we must first address the barriers to sufficiently leverage these pacts,” he said.
SMEs are by and large exporting raw materials, eclipsing the amount of processed goods, Taingpor said, remarking that imports from neighbouring countries outpace Cambodian exports, citing high production costs and lack of standards, as well as a shortage of ports and inadequate transport infrastructure.