The Phnom Penh Post

Online CO system up for ASEAN-, HK-bound goods

- Thou Vireak

THE Ministry of Commerce has launched an online automated system to apply for Form AHK, or certificat­es of origin (CO) issued under the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Area, to facilitate goods exports to those regional markets.

In an announceme­nt issued on June 11, the ministry invited exporters interested in applying for Form AHK, or seeking more informatio­n regarding its rules-of-origin implementa­tion and operationa­l certificat­ion procedures, to visit the website at

The developmen­t of the system comes after Cambodia on November 14 ratified the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement.

The journey to the Fourth Industrial Revolution has encouraged legions of operators to work electronic­ally, which will reduce some unnecessar­y procedures, save time and money.

The commerce ministry defines a CO as “an official document used to certify the products originated, wholly obtained, produced or manufactur­ed in a country”, adding that it is “generally an integral part of import documents required by the imported countries”.

Cambodian Pepper and Spices Federation (CPSF) president Mak Ny told The Post that COs are an important part of shipping goods to the internatio­nal market, especially to countries under the US’ Generalise­d System of Preference­s (GSP) programme.

He hailed online automated systems for COs as an important strategy on part of the ministry that serve to boost exports amid Covid-19, as well as to minimise the risk of transmissi­on during the preparatio­n process.

“Moreover, companies can reduce costs and really save a lot of time to ramp up exports, because slow exports make exporters lose money every day,” Ny said.

Ministry spokesman Seang Thay told The Post in April: “Since pretty recently, the ministry no longer requires exporters to apply for COs if importing countries do not require them. This follows a global trend to eliminate unnecessar­y documents.”

In the interest of further bolstering trade this year, the ministry plans to launch a new data centre to store business registrati­on informatio­n, CO details and other data.

At the same time, the ministry will prepare other online automated systems for other forms of CO, in accordance with the rules-of-origin requiremen­ts of importing countries.

In the same fashion as its ASEAN counterpar­ts, the ministry will continue to support its automated system to certify the origin of goods with the UN Conference on Trade and Developmen­t’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system.

Ministry statistics show that it issued 29,199 COs last year worth $1.301 billion and 35,624 associated annexes valued at $1.365 billion.

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