The Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on combating counterfeit products in the country. It is hoped that this will create an equitable competitive environment and attract investment.

The MoU was signed by CCF director-general Phan Oun and EuroCham chairman Tassilo Brinzer during the Counter-Counterfeit and Illicit Trade Forum on February 21.

Oun said dishonest business practice has become a global concern, with the smuggling of counterfeit products and tax evasion affecting the economic growth of all countries.

“The illegal trafficking of counterfeit goods results in the loss of billions of dollars in tax revenue, while dishonest business practices damage the trust of consumers,” he said.

He said the CCF has played an important role in protecting the rights and interests of consumers by eliminating profiteering and unfair practices in the market by some corrupt businesses. This has created a fair environment for competition.

“In 2022, the CCF cooperated with various international agencies to organise educational workshops for the public and business owners in all sectors. We also worked to eliminate the circulation of defective or counterfeit products and those which violated monopoly rights,” he added.

“Through technical cooperation and the sharing of experience, the MoU between the CCF and EuroCham aims to ensure future prosperity and attract investment into Cambodia,” he continued.

Hou Kreun, deputy director of the NGO Helen Keller International (Cambodia), expressed support for the collaboration.

“Food safety issues are a common problem of defective or counterfeit food products. All major stakeholders must work together to address the issue if we are to promote national economic development,” he said.

“Counterfeit or unsafe products are also a major cause of the vicious cycle of diarrhea and malnutrition, which threatens the food security and nutrition of vulnerable people,” he added.

According to the findings of the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) 2021-2022, the stunting rate of children under 5 dropped from 32 to 22 per cent from 2014 to 2021, but low weights remain a concern. Unsafe food makes a major contribution to malnutrition in children.

A report by the Food Safety Bureau – which is under the Ministry of Health’s Department of Pharmaceutics, Food, Medical Equipment and Cosmetics – showed that 119 people died from food poisoning between 2015 and 2021.