Desk Report: The European Union (EU) has been threatening to suspend the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme with Cambodia since November 2018, but this became a reality on Wednesday (12 August) when EU announced that some of Cambodia’s export items like garments, footwear and travel goods will now be subject to custom duties.
This decision is a result of the deteriorating democracy and human-rights situation in the country, according to EU, but they still maintain that they are open to engage in necessary reforms with the Southeast Asian nation.
“We stand by their side even in difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nevertheless, our continued support does not diminish the urgent need for Cambodia to respect human rights and labour rights. I stand ready to continue our engagement and to restore fully free access to the EU market for products from Cambodia provided we see substantial improvement in that respect,” Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said in a press release.
The suspension of EBA which has been in place ever since 2001, will only impact about 20 per cent of Cambodia’s export to the EU for now, and they will have to bear the tariffs applicable to all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The rest of Cambodia’s exports will still enjoy a duty-free status to the bloc’s market.
Human rights violations in the form of robbing citizens of their freedom of expression as well as land and labour disputes have prompted the EU to take this step.
They will closely monitor the situation in the country and consider reinstating the EBA trade scheme if there is significant progress on the civil and political rights front.
Courtesy: Apparel Resources