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Japan donates anti-smuggling watercraft

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
An aerial view shows Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels spraying water at fishing boats from North Korea, in an area called the Yamato Shallows, where in waters Japan says is part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 400 kilometers off the western coast of Japan, in this handout photo taken in October 2017 and provided by Japan Coast Guard. Japan Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS

Cambodia’s customs department will soon receive two patrol boats from the Japanese government, which will be used to combat smuggling.

A memorandum of acceptance for the watercraft was signed last month on the sidelines of the Council of the World Customs Organisation in Brussels, Belgium, according to an announcement from Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

The boats have already been equipped with all the necessary systems, repainted and renamed. Cambodia will receive the boats by the end of October, GDCE said.

Under the agreement, local commanders will be trained on how to operate the watercraft.

Kun Nhim, GDCE director, said the patrol boats are badly needed to help curb smuggling activity in the Kingdom.

“The two customs patrol boats will play a significant role strengthening the GDCE to prevent and crack down on any smuggling at oceans and coastal areas,” he said, explaining that stopping smugglers will increase tax revenue at GDCE and improve business for those that transport goods legally.

He said the Japanese government has always played a key role in helping modernise customs in Cambodia.

Japan last month proposed that Cambodia replaces its current customs administration system, ASYCUDA, with Japan-made NACCS.

The Cambodian Minister of Economy, Aun Pornmoniroth, said he will considered the suggestion, but added that changing the customs management system entails a significant amount of work and is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

In 2017, GDCE collected $1.9 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent over the previous year.

Cambodia’s coast stretches for 440 kilometres, and is divided among four provinces – Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep.

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