The Ministry of Commerce posted $12.7 million in revenue for 2020, down by 50.83 per cent over $26.60 million in 2019, driven down by reductions in business registration fees and an increasing number of merchants self-certifying their products’ origins.
Business registrations accounted for more than $4.75 million and the issuance of certificates of origin (CO), licences and the provision of related services totalled $5.79, the ministry said in its annual report.
Trademark registration and related services pulled in over $2 million and more than $76,932 came from other services, the ministry said.
Services provided by the ministry’s Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General brought in $21,807 and revenue from trade fairs, exhibitions and other such events clocked in at $10,492.
It was not the first year that the ministry reported such a decline – 2019 revenue dropped 50.6 per cent from a year earlier.
Ministry spokesman Seang Thay told The Post that the decline was largely due to a number of bureaucratic reforms.
“Since pretty recently, the ministry no longer requires exporters to apply for COs if importing countries do not require them. This follows a global trend to eliminate unnecessary documents,” he said.
Businesses registered as exporters are increasingly declaring the origins of their wares through self-certification systems under various schemes and are less dependent on COs issued by the ministry, he said, citing the EU’s Registered Exporter (REX) system as a prime example.
Business registration fees were reduced from 300,000 to 180,000 riel ($74.30 to $44.58) for new enterprises, from 1,680,000 to 1,010,000 riel for non-enterprise companies and 40,000 to 25,000 for company-name reservation services.
Thay said: “The three recent [cuts] that the Ministry of Commerce has made are part of the government’s sweeping reforms aimed at facilitating trade, improving the business environment and trimming unnecessary costs, slashing production costs, sharpening Cambodia’s competitive edge and ramping up exports.”