The Ministry of Commerce last week asked rice exporters to join the recently-created Registered Exporter System (REX), which allows firms to ship goods abroad using a statement of origin instead of the ‘form A’ of the certificate of origin (CO).
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Speaking at a seminar held at Sokha Hotel on Friday, Pich Rithy, under-secretary of state at the ministry, said the REX system facilitates trade and makes the local export sector more competitive.
“This system will make things easier and reduce costs for exporters shipping to the European market,” Mr Rithy said.
The REX system is based on the principle of self-certification. By joining the system, companies become ‘registered exporters’, which allows them to issue their own statements of origin.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with the Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain Programme (CAVAC) to inform producers, traders, and exporters to the EU of the REX system and its benefits and the implementation of a 10-digit code for rice exports to the EU.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said REX makes exporting easier but believed it didn’t help much in reducing costs for exporting firms.
“It reduces costs for us but is nothing huge. However, it will help us save time,” he said, adding that to make the sector more competitive the government and the private sector need to focus on reducing logistics and electricity costs.
Chan Sokheang, chairman and CEO of Signatures of Asia, echoed Mr Lak’s remarks.
“I think it does not help that much when it comes to cutting costs for exporters. In order to compete with countries like Thailand and Vietnam, we need to reduce our production costs by $30 to $60,” Mr Sokheang said.
Last month, Cambodia exported 59,625 tonnes of rice to international markets, a 5 percent drop compared to January 2018, according to a report issued by the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality.
The same report points out that the EU bought 20,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice in January, which is around 40 percent of all Cambodian rice exports. China bought about the same amount.