Camcontrol Reports Seizing 37 Illegal Shipments in 1998

The Commerce Ministry’s customs inspection unit, Camcontrol, stopped 37 illegal shipments of goods and collected nearly $1.5 million in fines and fees in 1998, a year-end report said.

Expired-date food products and illegally imported garments topped the list of goods, the department’s report said.

The annual report also said the office had submitted reports to Prime Minister Hun Sen about the import of toxic waste—described in the report as “3,000 tons of cement cake”—from Taiwan through Sihanoukville port on Nov 30. But it doesn’t say what was contained in the re­ports.

In 1998, Camcontrol fined nine garment manufacturers for importing finished or partially-finished garments in order to claim the clothes were “Made in Cam­bodia” and take advantage of trade privileges.

Last April, for instance, Cam­control officers seized two containers from Flying Dragon Co. The containers were listed as holding materials for the garment factory, “but in fact there were 600 cases or 30,000 pieces of jeans,” the report said.

In the past few years, Cam­bodia’s garment sector has exploded as manufacturers took advantage of trade privileges with the US. A recently negotiated quota on some types of garments is expected to slow the flow.

Camcontrol has been criticized in the Khmer-language press for allowing illegal shipments of garments into the country.

Camcontrol Director South Dara acknowledged the office is only able to stop a tiny percentage of illicit shipments because the department lacks the legal mandate and power to do its work.

Controlling the quality of food entering the country is a problem, he said, because the office is still waiting for the National Assembly to pass a law on food quality.

“If we find them [expired foods] we want to ban the food…and educate people about expiration dates and spoiled food products,” South Dara said.



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