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Legal Alert | Cambodia | New Sub-Decree on Management of Plastic Bags

In October 2017, the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia issued Sub-Decree No. 168 GNKR.BK (“new Sub-Decree”) on the Management of Plastic Bags aiming to reduce wastage and protect the environment as well as the country’s landscape. This Sub-Decree prescribes:

  • duties of relevant authorities;
  • duties of citizens;
  • general measures in managing plastic bags; and
  • penalties.

Although the new Sub-Decree has yet to be fully implemented, the regulation itself introduces a new incentive for business owners and other service-oriented owners.[1]According to this new Sub-Decree, the tax for importation or production of biodegradable or bioplastic items shall be state-borne.[2] To get such entitlement, businesses shall file applications to the Ministry of Economy and Finance after receiving approval from the Ministry of Environment (“MOE”).[3]

The new Sub-Decree also aims to encourage citizens to reduce the usage of plastic bags by replacing it with other more nature-friendly alternatives.[4] According to Article 14 of the new Sub-Decree, plastic bags for carrying shall be prohibited for importation, local production, distribution, and use unless its thickness is measured from 0.03 millimeters with a base width from 25 centimeters or 10 inches.[5] A permit from the MOE is required for production and importation of plastic bags except for non-business importation of less than 100 kilograms.[6]

From 10 April 2018, there will be additional charges imposed on consumers requesting for plastic bags at supermarkets and commercial centers.[7] Other businesses and service-oriented activities shall subsequently be bound to this scheme too, yet the date for full implementation nationwide shall be determined by the Inter-Prakas of the MOE and the relevant ministries.[8]

The penalties under this new Sub-Decree include:

  • written warning;
  • seizure of the plastic bags;
  • suspension of business activities or production activities;
  • suspension or importation permit withdrawal of the plastic bags; and
  • transitional penalties.[9]

The penalties can be subject to objection at the discretion of the MOE[10] and although the provision is silent on the effect of the decision, further challenge to the court on the matter per se is permitted.[11]

If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Sen Dara or the ZICO Law partner you usually deal with.


This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.

[1] Sub-Decree No. 168 GNKR.BK on the Management of Plastic Bags, art 13.

[2] ibid, art 16.

[3] ibid, art 17.

[4] ibid, art 12.

[5] ibid, art 14.

[6] ibid, art 14.

[7] ibid, art 18.

[8] ibid, art 19.

[9] Sub-Decree No. 168 GNKR.BK on the Management of Plastic Bags, art 23.

[10] ibid, art 23.

[11] ibid, art 23.