This section provides information, documents, guidelines, and procedures for importing and exporting goods into and from Cambodia by Sea /River, Air, and Land. We also provide links to application forms for starting the process of import and export. Additionally, this section provides updates and news on Free Trade Agreements between Cambodia and other states and elaborates on specific standards in exporting and importing from specific countries doing trade with Cambodia.
In this part, we explain best practices for import into and exporting out of Cambodia, while highlighting the unique procedures required to ship imported goods through the country on transit clearance.
Both importers and exporters first need to register with Cambodia’s Department of Business Registration, under the Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodia uses the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) created under the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). To register with ASYCUDA, importers and exports require a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). To acquire a TIN, importers and exporters must register with the General Department of Taxation, under the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Finally, importers and exports must register with the General Department of Customs and Excise.
Subsequently, importers and exporters need to register their value added tax (VAT) accounts with the General Department of Taxation (Ministry of Economy and Finance).
Importers and exporters operating out of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) must apply with the Free Zone Management Department of the General Department of Customs and Excise in Phnom Penh.
Businesses importing into Cambodia must provide the following documents when their goods arrive:
Businesses exporting out of Cambodia must provide the following documents before their goods depart:
Additional documents for certain imports and exports
All foodstuff, chemicals, drugs, and electrical (or electronic) equipment imported into Cambodia requires a pre-arrival assessment. This assessment is conducted by the Cambodian Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General.
All animals (live or dead) as well as animal by-products require permission from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
All plants and plant products require a phytosanitary certificate issues by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
A complete list of import and export goods with proper HS Codes, tariff rates, and additional measures can be found here.
For goods in transit
Goods that traverse into Cambodia en route to subsequent destinations must provide an import declaration under Cambodia’s transit regime (under the General Department of Customs and Excise).
To transit goods through Cambodia, the following documents are necessary:
Transitory goods do not incur import tariffs. But, either a check or letter of guarantee issued by a financial institution must be provided as security. Goods in transit must follow the route through Cambodia dictated by customs officials.
Cambodia follows the 8-digit Harmonized System (HS) Code under the World Customs Organization (WCO). Cambodia’s tariff classifications confirm with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN).
Cambodia applies tariff rates between 0 and 35 percent. Typically, primary goods and raw materials incur a tariff rate of 7 percent; capital goods and locally available raw materials a tariff rate of 15 percent and; finished products as well as alcohol, petroleum, vehicles, and precious metals a tariff rate of 35 percent.
For a complete good-by-good breakdown of tariff rates visit the website of the Cambodia National Trade Repository. Goods such as agricultural equipment, school material, pharmaceutical products, and sport equipment are exempt from import tariffs.
Cambodia charges a flat 10 percent value-added tax (VAT) on all imported goods. Cambodia also charges a special tax on certain imported goods.
Cambodia levies an export tax on goods leaving the country which ranges between 0 and 50 percent.
Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
Cambodia has in total 39 special economic zones to date – including at the port of Sihanoukville. Businesses operating out of these SEZs can import raw material and production equipment without paying import duties and are exempt from VAT on both imports and exports.
As mentioned above, importers and exporters operating in SEZs require additional documentation.
Free Trade Agreements
Cambodia is a partner to the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and a member of five regional FTAs through the ASEAN with:
In order to avail to the benefits of these FTAs, exports and importers must apply for a Certificate of Origin for their goods from the Export-Import Department.
Cambodia has set up a National Trade Repository as a source for all regulatory information for traders to import and export goods. You can get an overview of the detailed description of the cargo clearance processes from the Handbook on Customs Clearance and other related official documents below.
Do you dream of being independent and running your own business? Maybe you want to become your own boss? Or do you have a great solution to a problem you see in the world? If yes, becoming an entrepreneur might be right for you. However, starting a business isn’t easy and you need to be prepared for a long period of struggle until your enterprise starts to turn a profit. This section guides you on what you need to start a business as well as giving you advice to help you through this journey. There are also professional Service Providers who can help you through some of the steps or even through the complete setup process. Before you start, check if you’re ready:Starting a business requires effort and commitment. It’s important to know what’s involved and whether you’re actually well suited to business and self-employment. We recommend you first take some time to critically evaluate yourself and learn about the challenges of owning a business. Are you really ready to own your own business?Whether you’re starting a new business or buying an established one, you’ll need to be prepared. Consider these key areas to make sure you are ready. 2. Refine your idea Once you are certain you’re cut out for running your business, it’s time to review and refine your business idea. A great way to do this without diving directly into a lengthy and detailed business plan is to use a tool such as the Business Model Canvas. This gives you a single page snapshot of the key elements of your business and how they work together. You can find a free download here. The Business Model Canvas ensures that you start thinking about your mission and value proposition from the very beginning. You will need to think about and make notes about the following key areas: Customer segments:Who are your customers? Value proposition:What are your products or services? What problems are you solving for your customers? Revenue streams:Where does your income come from? Channels: How do you communicate with your customers? How do you deliver your goods or services? Key Activities:What do you do every day to run your business? Key Resources: Who are the people, the skills, the tools and the finances you need to run your business? Key partners:Who are your key partners in running your business? Cost Structure:What are your main costs? More information about this tool can be found here: https://www.businessmodelsinc.com/about-bmi/tools/business-model-canvas/. Ngeay Ngeay also offers a free video course in Khmer to help you through the Business Model Canvas here. 3. Conduct research market To start and run a successful business you need to understand your customers and your target market. Market research can help you to understand and make informed decisions about the marketing of your products and services. There are different types of market research: primary and secondary. Primary research involves gathering information first-hand through surveys, interviews, and talking to (potential) customers and other businesses. Your research can be formal or informal. Secondary research uses information and data that has already been collected and analyzed by others. You can research your markets using information such as government statistics and trade publications. Evaluate your target audience A key purpose of market research is to get to know your target customers. You need to understand who is going to buy your product and why? What are their needs and pain points? How can you reach them? How do they make a decision to buy? Where will you find and how will you communicate with them? Research the competition and market saturation You need to know your competition, so you can beat them and prevent them from taking your customers. Remember competition is not always a bad thing; it means there is already a healthy market for your product or service and that customers are willing to pay. Learn as much as you can about how your competitors attract customers, what value they provide and anything they are missing. At the same time, check for market saturation. You may think that the coffee shop or the flower shop in your neighbourhood looks like a great business idea, because it seems to be flourishing, but you need to consider: are there enough customers for this type of business? Maybe the market is already saturated with numerous businesses offering similar products or services. If you want to enter an already crowded market, what will be your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? How will you stand out and be different? Will you have a more specialized service? A lower price? Something that no one else can offer? Simply copying another business or business idea is not a winning approach. You need to understand the market size and the portion of this you can potentially captur Validate your idea It’s a good idea at this stage to field test your idea, product or service. Speak to potential customers and get their feedback on your proposed product or service and see how interested they are in it and whether they would be willing to pay for it. You can do through by sending out surveys, talking to people in person or on social media, running ads or attempting a pre-sale campaign to gauge interest. Ngeay Ngeay also offers a free video course in Khmer to help you prepare a marketing strategy for your business here. 4. Write a business plan A business plan is a must if you are thinking of getting outside financing through a loan or investment. However, even if you are starting small and starting with your own funds, a business plan will help you to plan: how much money you’ll need to get started, how to get profitable, what you need to do and what the longer-term future looks like. Think of a business plan as a road map for your business, a tool to help you manage your goals and track your progress. If you’ve already developed a simple overview of your business, using a tool like the Business Model Canvas, this will be a great starting point for you. How formal or structured your business plan will be, will depend on whether you plan to use to raise funds or use only as an internal document. What goes into a formal business plan? There are different ways to structure a business plan, but most contain at least the following elements: Executive SummaryYour teamCompany overviewIndustry and Market AnalysisMarketing PlanOperational PlanFinancial Strategy A great way to get support in writing a business plan, check the list of training opportunities here. [link to training opportunities page] You can also seek support from the list of service providers here. [link to service providers page] There are also numerous websites that can provide you templates, guidance and advice on writing business plans. 5. Make your business legal To start and operate a business in Cambodia, you will need to get registered. The first step will be to review the different types of business structures and to decide which one is the best for you. You will also need to decide on a name and check if it is available. To help you decide, you should research the structures and pros and cons of the above types of businesses and select the one that is most suitable for you and your business. A good place to start is here. This site contains a table comparing the different registration types along with the benefits and drawbacks of each. Registration Steps and Requirements in Cambodia In Cambodia, you can register your new busines through the One Portal system here. This User [insert pdf download here] Guide from the Ministry of Economy and Finance is very useful to help you get prepared for this process. It includes an overview of how to use the system and the documents you will need to prepare for submission. The main steps in registering your business, whether you use the One Portal system, or a service provider are: Name Search and confirmationBusiness registration with the MOCTax registration with GDTDeclaration of opening with MoLVTLicensing and other requirements based on operations and industry. Read more about licensing here. [link to content on licenses]You may need to secure additional licenses and permits in order to have approval to do certain activities based on your type of business and industry. You can find more information on licenses and permits in the Business License section of this website.You may also choose to register a trademark. Registering a trademark can protect your brand assets, such as your business name or logo. To learn how to register a trademark, see the links below.EN_ Official Video Explanation on Online Trademark Filing System in CambodiaOfficial Portal to Trademark Registration in Cambodia If you have staff members you will also need to apply for National Social Security Fund (NSSF). You can learn more about NSSF and how to apply here. 6. Financing your business Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or buying an existing business or franchise, some approaches you may consider for funding: Fund your business yourself through self-fundingSecure venture capital from investorsUse crowdfundingGet a small business loanSmall and Medium Enterprises investment programsIt’s important to remember that investors such as business angels and venture capitalists may expect some level of existing self-funding or existing equity in the business in order to invest.You may also require financing for other areas of your business such as property, vehicles, machinery and tools, or inventory. There are different types of financing that may be available for you such as:A bank or MFI loanA line of creditLeasingTrade credit from suppliersLoansInvestmentsFor guidance on deciding which methods are the best for your business, you can find counselling services through our resource partner network (see Service Providers). 7. Preparation for operations As a registered entity, you will need to submit monthly and annual tax declarations to the General Department of Tax (GDT). To help you to do this, you will need support, at least initially, from a bookkeeper or accountant who has experience in this area. You will need to set up a well-organized filing system, prepare numbered receipts and invoice books, making sure you keep very detailed and careful copies of every transaction. This is in addition to setting up and using a system such as QuickBooks to keep track of income and expenses and so that you can create monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports. 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This helps you to prepare for all types of situations before they arise, making sure you are ready for the ebbs and flows of the business.Read more Checkout Service Providers