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Stakeholders ready to support, deliver consumer protections

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Commerce minister Pan Sorasak speaks at a public workshop to launch the National Consumer Protection Programme (NCPP) on July 12. MOC

Stakeholders ready to support, deliver consumer protections

Cambodia has announced the implementation of the National Consumer Protection Programme (NCPP) in Cambodia under the Consumer Protection Law to promote efficient and fair competition in order to strengthen consumer rights.

The directorate-general of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) under the Ministry of Commerce prepared a hybrid public workshop on July 12 to launch the NCPP with the participation of government ministries and institutions and representatives from the legal sector, development partners, the Consumer Protection in ASEAN” (PROTECT) project, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other national and international organisations.

Other legal documents discussed at the workshop included materials on consumer protection programmes, guidelines on pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing, proclamation on illusory promises and the proclamation on withdrawal from contracts.

Minister of Commerce and Chairman of the National Commission for Consumer Protection (NCCP) Pan Sorasak stated that – in this context – the NCPP in Cambodia was developed and adopted to harmonise consumer protection frameworks to promote market integrity, transparency and accountability and to strengthen consumer empowerment by promoting environmentally sound economic development and enhancing trust for economic efficiency.

“In addition, the NCPP is also a key legal document that acts as a strategic document for all stakeholders to develop policies, action plans and implementation mechanisms that adhere to the protection of consumer rights and interests,” he said.

Sorasak said that these four documents were submitted at the meeting of the NCCP on June 9 with the review and discussion and already approved to become legal documents.

At the same time, he continued to encourage all businesses that make the rights and interests of consumers a priority and he called on all businesses that have not yet implemented consumer protection obligations to do so.

Sin Sideth, deputy director-general of the CCF directorate-general, said that the event was organised to inform stakeholders from public and private institutions about new regulations and guidelines to supplement the law on customer protection which was approved in late 2019.

“These documents aim to provide further guidance on how to interpret and apply key principles for conducting business ethically and for protecting the interests of consumers,” he said.

He stressed that the NCPP was the main framework to develop consumer protection activities according to the government’s stated priorities.

Frank Jattke, head of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) ASEAN Working Group in Cambodia, said that German development organisations had recently provided technical assistance on consumer protection under the ASEAN framework.

“All the government documents that have been prepared are a good thing in international terms, and we hope that this new declaration will be in-line with the ASEAN guidelines that are also addressing these challenges,” he said.

At the same time, the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce’s (CCC) president Kith Meng believes that the official implementation of the programme will improve Cambodia’s reputation and the regulations will raise awareness among stakeholders.

“Businesses will benefit greatly from the implementation of this law in building consumer confidence. The implementation of these laws will help promote a transparent business environment, law enforcement, a competitive environment and protect consumers’ rights and their interests,” he said.

A press release issued by the CCF on same day stated that although Cambodia was the last of the 10 ASEAN member states to adopt the Law on Consumer Protection, the Kingdom could learn and adapt to international experience, and focus on coordinating the implementation of other relevant laws, such as e-commerce law, competition law and food safety law.

“We continue to work to strengthen our legal framework and capacity for consumer protection. The NCPP helps us to join forces to create an honest, transparent and accountable market in Cambodia where consumers are empowered and their rights are respected,” he said.

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