Cambodia

In progress

Digitising customs clearances on small packages to benefit MSMEs

New online portal will also boost trade potential of MSMEs, women-led businesses

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The Alliance is supporting Cambodia Post and the Customs authority in linking their respective electronic systems for processing clearances of small packages, saving time and money for local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of them women-owned. In parallel, we will help establish an “e-Trade One Stop Service Portal” for MSMEs to access trade-related information, helping them navigate the complexity of rules and regulations.

MSMEs are the backbone of the Cambodian economy, representing 99% of the country’s private sector, and women-led businesses account for 65% of all MSMEs. However, these smaller businesses only account for 10% of Cambodia’s exports, compared to around 30% in other countries in the region.

Many MSMEs find the Customs clearance process daunting and complex, and often struggle to find information about the prevailing regulations and the applicable tariffs. Given the global surge in economic commerce (e-commerce), Cambodia Post and the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) want to make trade in small packages easier, faster, and more cost-efficient to unlock the potential of this enormous market for local MSMEs.

What we are doing

Cambodia Post and the DGCE each have electronic systems for handling parcel clearances for small parcels, but a lack of integration means that paper Customs declarations are still filed and processed by hand. This project is linking the two systems to facilitate the rapid clearance of small packages and end the dependence on cumbersome paper processes.

Change management workshops will raise awareness of the new approach and address technical issues associated with the systems integration, while Cambodia Post and Customs teams will receive training to adjust to expedited process.

The project has another component that aims to get more Cambodian MSMEs to embrace e-commerce and engage in cross-border trade. We are working with the Cambodian Women’s Entrepreneur Association (CWEA) on the development of a new online portal that can act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for SMEs looking to understand and engage in international trade through the enhanced arrangements between Cambodia Post and Customs.

The CWEA acts as a local private sector champion for the project, promoting public and MSME awareness of the possibilities of e-commerce and international trade while also building the capacities of local MSMEs and engaging in ongoing discussions with the government on trade issues.

Benefits

By creating a new digital link between Cambodia Post and Customs systems, and supporting MSME engagement in cross-border trade through CWEA, the project will:

  • reduce the time and costs required in filing and obtaining Customs clearances for small parcels shipped through Cambodia Post
  • remove a significant barrier to Cambodian MSMEs participating in cross-border trade and boost their growth and contributions to inclusive economic growth
  • give women-led businesses the opportunity to grow by making it easier to send small packages internationally, making e-commerce a more realistic prospect for many
  • enhance the transparency around Customs processes and tariffs applying to small package shipments
  • create new opportunities for Cambodia Post to expand its strategic partnerships with operators to improve its mail and logistics capacity

Raising the MSME share of Cambodia’s exports from 10% to the 30% seen in other Southeast Asian countries could add as much as USD 3.5 billion a year to the national economy.

Measurement

We will focus on establishing a baseline for postal shipments in advance of project implementation and conduct an assessment at its conclusion to consider the full range of impacts.

Timeline

The project is expected to take 18 months with the two components – focusing on the digital link between Cambodia Post and Customs and the development of the online portal at CWEA – running concurrently.

How can the private sector get involved?

We are looking for Cambodian MSMEs to participate in the project as early adopters and ‘champions’ of the expedited Customs clearance approach.

 

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