In return for those rights, like all WTO members, Cambodia has accepted
some obligations under the WTO agreements. Details of how Cambodia is to
apply or phase in these obligations are spelt out in the membership
agreement which consists of a report from the working party that
negotiated the deal, and schedules or lists of commitments on import
duties for goods and market access for service providers.
These are some highlights of the working party report, which was adopted
on 22 July 2003:
Cambodia had supplied the working party with detailed information on its
economic, financial and monetary regime, including its objective of
maintaining a convertible currency with an exchange rate based on the
market. The tax system was reformed in January 1997. Details were also
supplied on the investment regime, plans for legislation in a wide range
of areas related to the WTO, and the creation of commercial courts.
The working party took note of Cambodia’s commitments, for example:
State ownership and privatization:
Privatization was carried out during a first phase from 1991 to
mid-1993, and a second phase starting in April 1995. Cambodia will
ensure transparency, and keep WTO members informed and also provide
periodic reports on other issues related to its economic reform as
relevant to its obligations under the WTO.
Pricing policies: From accession, in
the application of price controls, Cambodia will apply price controls in
a way that is consistent with the WTO, and take account of the interests
of exporting WTO members. Cambodia has published a list of goods and
services subject to state control.
Trading rights (the right to import and export):
Responding to a comment that its restrictions on imported
pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines could discriminate in favour of
domestic production of similar products, Cambodia said that no later
than 1 June 2005, it would amend its legislation, and ensure that its
laws and regulations are in full conformity with its WTO obligations.
Other customs duties and charges:
Cambodia will ensure these comply with WTO provisions from the date of
accession and will be bound at zero.
Tariff rate quotas, tariff exemptions:
Cambodia confirmed that it would respect WTO disciplines on tariff rate
Cambodia said that upon accession to the WTO, any tariff exemptions
would only be implemented in conformity with the relevant WTO
Fees and charges for services rendered:
All fees and charges collected for services related to imports and
exports will conform with the provisions of WTO agreements, and from the
date of accession, Cambodia will not apply, introduce or reintroduce any
fees and charges for services rendered that were applied to imports ad
valorem (i.e. as a percentage of the prices).
Application of internal taxes: From
the date of accession, Cambodia will apply its domestic taxes in strict
compliance with Article 3 of GATT and in a non-discriminatory manner to
imports regardless of country of origin. GATT Article 3 deals with
“national treatment” (or non-discrimination between locals and
foreigners) in taxation.
Quantitative import restrictions, including
prohibitions, quotas and licensing systems: No later than
1 June 2005, Cambodia will eliminate quantitative restrictions on
imports of fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs and
establish a WTO-consistent method of registration and review of imported
agricultural chemicals. From 1 January 2007 Cambodia will rely on the
provisions of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement to regulate
domestic and international trade in these items.
From accession, Cambodia will not introduce, re-introduce or apply other
non-tariff measures such as licensing, quotas, prohibitions, bans and
other restrictions having equivalent effect that could not be justified
under the provisions of the WTO Agreements.
Customs valuation: Cambodia will
fully implement the Customs Valuation Agreement from 1 January 2009.
Rules of origin: Cambodia will
comply fully with the provisions of the WTO Rules of Origin Agreement by
1 January 2005, parts by 1 January 2004.
Other customs formalities: A dispute
settlement mechanism within the Cambodian Customs Service to handle
complaints about customs practices from traders and governments will be
established before 1 January 2005.
Preshipment inspection: From
accession the Cambodian government will take full responsibility to
ensure that the operations of the preshipment inspection companies
retained by Cambodia meet the requirements of the WTO agreements.
Cambodia’s preshipment inspection regime will be temporary and will
cease when the Customs and Excise Department is able to carry out the
functions currently performed by preshipment inspection service
Anti-dumping, countervailing duties, safeguard
regimes: Cambodia will not apply any anti-dumping,
countervailing or safeguard measure until it has notified and
implemented appropriate laws and regulations conforming with the WTO
agreements. After that, Cambodia will also only apply any anti-dumping
duties, countervailing duties and safeguard measures in full conformity
with the relevant WTO provisions.
Export restrictions: Cambodia
restricts exports of rice, round logs, unprocessed timber, forestry
products, antiques more than 100 years old, narcotic drugs and poisons,
weapons, explosives, ammunition, and vehicles and machinery for military
purposes. From the date of accession, Cambodia will ensure that
restrictions comply with WTO agreements.
Export subsidies: Cambodia will
comply with the Subsidies Agreement from accession. It will either
eliminate the existing system of remission of import fees and waiver of
duty for certain goods used by certain investors, or establish a
functioning duty drawback system consistent with WTO provisions, through
amendment of the Law on Investment, as necessary, by the end of 2013.
Industrial policy, including subsidies:
These subsidies are to be notified from the date of accession.
Standards and certification: Cambodia will gradually implement the
Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. Full implementation will start
from 1 January 2007 without recourse to any further transitional period.
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures:
Cambodia will gradually implement the SPS Agreement, with full
implementation by 1 January 2008. Cambodia will consult with WTO Members
upon request if they deem that any measures applied during the
transition period affected their trade negatively.
Trade-related investment measures (TRIMs):
Cambodia will not maintain any measures inconsistent with the TRIMs
Agreement and will apply the TRIMs Agreement from the date of accession
without recourse to any transitional period.
State trading entities: Cambodia
will apply its laws and regulations governing the trading activities of
state-owned enterprises in full conformity with the provisions of the
Free zones, special economic areas:
Free zones or special economic areas, including special promotion zones
established in accordance with the Law on Investment, will be fully
subject to the coverage of WTO agreements and its commitments in its
Protocol of Accession to the WTO Agreement. Cambodia will ensure
enforcement of its WTO obligations in those zones or areas. In addition,
from the date of accession goods produced in these zones or areas under
tax and tariff provisions that exempt imports and imported inputs from
tariffs and certain taxes will be subject to normal customs formalities
when entering the rest of Cambodia, including the application of tariffs
Transit: Cambodia will apply any
laws, regulations and practices governing transit operations and would
act in full conformity with the provisions of the WTO agreements.
Agricultural policies: Cambodia
binds its agricultural export subsidies at zero, and will not maintain
or apply any export subsidies for agricultural products.
Textiles regime: Textiles and
clothing import quotas that other members apply to imports from Cambodia
will have growth rates applied as provided for in the Agreement on
Textiles and Clothing shall be applied, from the date of Cambodia’s
accession. These growth rates will end when the Agreement on Textiles
and Clothing terminates (in 2005).
Trade-related aspects of intellectual property
rights (TRIPS): Cambodia will apply the TRIPS Agreement no
later than 1 January 2007, with some protection provided in the interim.
Transparency: From the date of
accession, all laws and regulations will be published according to WTO
requirements, and on a website from 1 January 2004.
Regional trade agreements:
Cambodia’s only regional trade agreement is within ASEAN (the ASEAN Free
Trade Area). In this, Cambodia will gradually eliminate tariffs on
essentially all ASEAN products by 2015. Details will be notified to the
The countries that negotiated with Cambodia
Working party members: Australia,
Canada, China, EU, India , Japan, Rep. Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Panama, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, Venezuela
Chairperson: A. Meloni (Italy)
Cambodia’s Working Party was established on 21 December 1994. Cambodia
submitted a Memorandum on its Foreign Trade Regime in June 1999. Replies
to questions concerning the Memorandum were circulated in January 2001,
the latest revisions and updates arriving in March 2003.
The 14 November 2002 meeting was the working party’s third. It marked an
advancement of the accession process because for the first time members
focused on ideas for a draft Working Party Report and, thereby,
concentrated on agreeing Cambodia’s terms of entry.
The 16 April 2003 meeting was the first to consider the report. The
final revision was approved at the last working party meeting on
22 July 2003.