The Japanese Business Association of Cambodia (JBAC) has asked the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) to resolve some of the challenges faced at the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian international border checkpoint in Poipet town of Banteay Meanchey province after its preliminary opening.

A fifth dialogue on the review and resolution of issues and requests was held between JBAC and GDCE via video link on January 24.

Speaking at the meeting, JBAC president Yogo Kanda listed some of these issues as a lack of offices and necessary infrastructure for a single stop inspection, limited implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system, excessive paperwork, and duplicate data entry on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) and Customs Valuation Declaration System (CVDS), the GDCE said in a statement.

Other issues concern pre-arrival clearance procedures stipulated by an ARISE Plus assistance programme, the adjustment of the period of storage of documents, e-payments and GDCE communications officers.

In response, GDCE director-general Kun Nhem said the department would review and resolve some of the private sector’s issues and requests connected with the customs clearance process and relevant procedures that were raised by the JBAC, according to the statement.

To this end, he said the GDCE accepted the JBAC’s proposal to hold a briefing session on the status and progress apropos the provisions in force, with a special focus on the expanded functions of the latest version of ASYCUDA, and other works that involve the association’s members.

GDCE will continue to work with JBAC to determine the agenda and dates of upcoming workshops on the matter, he added.

Banteay Meanchey provincial Chamber of Commerce president Chhoeung Chhiv Ien told The Post that the preliminary opening of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian border gate aimed to alleviate congestion at the Poipet international checkpoint, reducing delays in road freight transport.

During the Covid-era, however, the border restrictions imposed by the two countries, especially on travel, took care of most major challenges dogging cross-border freight transport, he said.

“The reason the Royal Government set up this checkpoint was to facilitate the transportation of goods by truck, while the Poipet gate would be largely reserved for tourist use,” he added.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport plans to install X-ray inspection equipment at the new border gate, to update and streamline cross-border inspection procedures.

Cambodia and Thailand agreed to the preliminary opening of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian checkpoint in early 2020. Construction works are slated to cost more than $24 million and scheduled to be completed in early 2023.

The checkpoint is in Phsar Kandal commune’s Stung Bot village on the Cambodian side, and in Tha Kham subdistrict’s Ban Nong Ian village of Sa Kaeo province’s Aranyaprathet district at the terminus of Highway 3366 on the Thai side (GPS Coordinates: 13.616N, 102.61E).