The government does not accept offers of assistance from the tobacco industry, nor endorse any policies drafted by the industry, nor invite the industry to sit at meetings which decides on policy. However, the government must remain vigilant.
Tobacco industry-sponsored CSR activities are not banned and remain a problem in Cambodia. They are mostly conducted by transnational tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.
Incentives are still given to the tobacco industry although these are not publicly known. One such incentive is the Ministry of Commerce’s waiver of duties to tobacco leaves exported to Vietnam and exemption of import tax by the Vietnam government for registered farmers producing more than 3,000 tons. Publicity was given to the exemption urging tobacco growers to take advantage of the exemption.
There is no record in the public domain of government officials attending social functions organized by the tobacco companies, or the government accepting assistance from the tobacco industry for tobacco control activities.
There are no rules of engagement or procedure for disclosure or registration of tobacco industry entities, affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf. The industry can utilize this lack of procedure to misrepresent any meetings it may have had with government departments.
The president of the LYP Group which owns the cigarette business, Hero King Co., LTD, is currently a senator. The government does not prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to political parties, candidates or campaigns and does not require full disclosure of such contributions.
A Sub-Decree on the Establishment and Functioning of the Committee for Tobacco Control was passed in 2017 which has incorporated principles of Article 5.3. There is no periodic submission of information from the tobacco industry about its business and what it spends on activities such as tobacco marketing and philanthropy. While the Ministry of Health has disseminated information on Article 5.3 to all members of the National Tobacco Control Committee, there is no information available publicly on the existence of a sustained program to raise awareness more systematically.
- Tobacco industry-sponsored CSR activities must be banned.
- Incentives currently given to the tobacco industry, such as the waiver of duties for export, must be stopped.
- Interaction with the tobacco industry should be held only when strictly necessary. This would prevent the tobacco industry from utilizing meeting opportunities to promote its business. To promote transparency, there must be a procedure to prevent representatives of the tobacco industry to misrepresent its meetings with governments.
- To prevent conflicts of interest, individuals involved in tobacco business must not hold public office.
- There must be a program to constantly raise awareness on policies related to Article 5.3 among government agencies. A code of conduct must be adopted to guide government officials when dealing with the tobacco industry.
- The tobacco industry must be required to provide information about its business, including its revenue and what it spends on marketing and philanthropy.
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