Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina on March 30 chaired a meeting to discuss the first steps of establishing procedures for applying for licences, permits and certificates for agricultural products in a single electronic form.

At the meeting, the minister emphasised that the application should run through a single stand-alone system.

“The relevant General Departments of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries must work with the customs department and revise Sub-Decree 17 to see which items need to be spot-checked to determine their exact source,” he was cited as saying in a ministry press release.

The ministry said that sanitary and phytosanitary inspection (SPS) are reciprocal principles of fair trade, and are distinct from customs barriers.

“SPS barriers serve to protect sanitation and public health, not to obstruct trade. Customs officials have to inspect goods at the border, while agriculture officials have to check conditions, certificates and samples of produce. All companies that fail to comply with SPS principles will have stock returned,” he added.

The minister advised that digitalisation must be done quickly.

“Modernising our work will save time and improve efficiency. We need to establish a single electronic source for all licences, permits and certificates by the end of this year,” he said.