To support the rapid growth of the Cambodian economy, the Cambodian government promulgated the Electronic Commerce Law (Electronic Commerce Law) and the Consumer Protection Law (Consumer Protection Law) on November 2, 2019. These two new laws change the legal landscape in terms of significant resources for the companies under their jurisdiction.
Electronic commerce law
The Electronic Commerce Law regulates national and cross-border electronic commerce activities in Cambodia, establishes legal certainty for electronic transactions and enacts a number of important protections for consumers.
The Electronic Commerce Act generally applies to all commercial and civil acts, documents and transactions executed through an electronic system, except those related to powers of attorney, wills and estates and real estate. The Electronic Commerce Law grants the Cambodian government the power to issue additional regulations to limit the scope of the law; it will therefore be necessary to check whether other types of transactions are subsequently excluded from the scope of the law.
The Electronic Commerce Law consists of 12 chapters, 67 articles and an annex.
- The first chapter contains general provisions on the objective, purpose and scope of the law, as briefly described above, and refers to the annex, which contains a glossary of 38 key terms used throughout the law.
- The second and third chapters deal with the validity and process of electronic communications, including the clarification of regulatory requirements for the recognition of electronic agreements and electronic signatures. These chapters also deal with certain technical issues, such as when and where electronic communications are considered sent and received.
- The fourth chapter deals with the security of electronic records and electronic signatures, and specifically prohibits identity theft.
- The fifth chapter concerns e-commerce service providers and intermediaries. This chapter covers potential liabilities for third party content on platforms and content takedown requests. In addition, service providers and intermediaries, possibly including foreign entities making their platforms accessible in Cambodia, may be subject to licensing and codes of conduct in Cambodia.
- The sixth chapter contains legal provisions on consumer protection on e-commerce platforms, including questions on adequate information requirements, scams, malicious code and data protection. Interestingly, this chapter specifically requires domestic and foreign e-commerce businesses, regardless of where they operate, to comply with legal obligations regarding unsolicited email.
- The seventh chapter governs the electronic acts and transactions of the Cambodian government, which may facilitate the use of online application forms by government agencies in the future.
- The eighth chapter legally recognizes the use of electronic evidence in Cambodian legal proceedings.
- The ninth chapter further regulates fund transfers and electronic payments. Banking and financial institutions should be aware of this chapter as it imposes certain obligations and responsibilities on them regarding fund transfers and electronic payments. For example, when a banking and financial institution has received notification from a customer of the loss or theft of its electronic payment instrument, banking and financial institutions are now responsible for any transaction occurring after the notification.
- The tenth chapter designates the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications as competent authorities which can issue warnings and disciplinary decisions in matters of electronic commerce.
- The eleventh chapter describes a number of penalties, such as fines and imprisonment, for those who violate the provisions of the Electronic Commerce Act.
- The final chapter notes that the e-commerce law will not be implemented until May 2, 2020, leaving time for government agencies to prepare the necessary implementing regulations required by law, and for private companies to do so. prepare for compliance.
As businesses have nearly six months to prepare for the implementation of the e-commerce law, we recommend that they familiarize themselves with the new requirements of the law and be wary of additional implementing regulations that may be required. published before the full implementation of the law. Law of 2 May 2020.
Consumer Protection Law
The Consumer Protection Law establishes rules aimed at securing consumer rights and ensuring that businesses conduct fair business competition in Cambodia. The Consumer Protection Act applies to anyone who conducts business with consumers in Cambodia, whether the business is for profit or not. The law applies to the sale of goods, services and real rights over real estate.
The Consumer Protection Act has 11 chapters and 51 articles.
- The first three chapters discuss introductory and general provisions, and explain the goals and objectives of the law and key definitions. It is important to note that these chapters establish the National Committee for Consumer Protection (NCCP) as Cambodia’s competent authority for consumer protection and empower consumers in each industry to form an association to protect their interests.
- The fourth and fifth chapters regulate unfair business activities and unfair practices. These deal, for example, with false, misleading or deceptive advertising and business models equivalent to pyramid schemes.
- The sixth chapter sets out the minimum information standards that companies must meet in relation to consumers, such as labeling requirements. These minimum information standards will be more specifically set by the industry regulators concerned. A notable element of the standards is that all information must be provided in the Khmer language.
- Chapters Seventh through Ninth establish the procedures for the NCCP to receive consumer complaints, conduct investigations and render decisions, as well as the rules for appealing decisions of the NCCP.
- The tenth and eleventh chapters present a number of sanctions for non-compliance with consumer protection law, including disciplinary sanctions, fines and imprisonment.
The Consumer Protection Law came into effect upon enactment on November 2, 2019, so prudent businesses should immediately review the law to understand their compliance requirements and prepare accordingly.