On 4 November 2022, Sub-Decree 232 on the Management of Commercial Advertisements of Goods and Services (“Sub-Decree 232”) was enacted by the Royal Government of Cambodia. Sub-Decree 232 is one of 31 measures to promote fair trade and practices in business in line with the Five-Year Action Plan (2022-2026) prepared by the National Commission for Consumer Protection (“NCCP”). Shortly thereafter, on 16 November 2022, Prakas 249 on the Procedures to apply for a Commercial Advertising Compliance Certificate (“Prakas 249”) was issued by the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”) to implement Sub-Decree 232.
Sub-Decree 232 provides the legal framework for the management of commercial advertising of goods and services for all types, forms and means in Cambodia, including digital advertising. Importantly, it introduces a new compliance certificate for commercial advertising that assures that commercial advertising complies with the applicable law.
The key aspects of Sub-Decree 232 and Prakas 249 are outlined below.
Requirement to obtain an applicable commercial advertising license/permit
Under Sub-Decree 232, before advertising any commercial goods and/or services in Cambodia, an applicant must apply for an applicable advertising license/permit issued by the competent authority (such as an advertising permit from the Ministry of Health before advertising a cosmetic product).
Sub-Decree 232 applies to all forms and means of commercial advertising of goods and services including, but not limited to, the use of audio-visual media, electronic systems, public displays on LED, printing, packaging and other public places. Commercial advertising text must be depicted in the Khmer language but, if a foreign language also appears in commercial advertising, the Khmer font must be placed above and double the size of the foreign language font.
In addition to the requirement to obtain a commercial advertising license/permit from the competent authority, a person wishing to advertise their goods and/or services in Cambodia may also apply for a compliance certificate from the MOC, which certifies that advertising text or content complies with the Law on Consumer Protection or other applicable regulations. Pursuant to Prakas 249, an applicant for a compliance certificate can be an advertiser, a person authorized to manage advertising, producer, service provider or importer.
The validity period of a compliance certificate must not exceed one year. A renewal must be filed within 30 days of the expiration date.
If there are any changes to the advertising text or content, a new compliance certificate must be applied for from the MOC.
Additional obligations for advertisements with prizes
Commercial advertising is divided into two types, specifically advertising with or without prizes.
Advertising with prizes refers to the advertising of goods and/or services accompanied by souvenirs, lucky draws or other rewards.
Any person that advertises with prizes must fulfill certain obligations set out in Sub-Decree 232, such as: (1) confirming the total number of products with the prize; (2) specifying the type and number of prizes; (3) specifying the period during which the prize will be offered; (4) specifying the locations at which the prize may be collected; and (5) disclosing the identity of the winner on a monthly and annual basis.
Certain content is prohibited from commercial advertising including:
- content that is misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or likely to create confusion about the quality and safety of goods and services;
- use of “best”, “only one”, “superior”, “unmatched” or other words with similar meanings without prior written confirmation from competent authorities; and
- content that violates applicable law.
Violating Sub-Decree 232 may give rise to the following penalties:
- a written warning;
- suspension, revocation or cancellation of an advertising licenses and/or a compliance certificate for commercial advertising;
- suspension, revocation or cancellation of a certificate of incorporation, license or permit to undertake business activities.
If a person is penalized by the MOC, other competent ministries or authorities may still take further action against the offender (i.e., halting, removing and confiscating any advertisements).
Please be aware that the imposition of any penalties under Sub-Decree 232 will not release an offender from any applicable criminal and civil liability.
Should you have any queries on the matters mentioned above, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.