Cambodia loses duty-free access to EU market from August 12

Aug 13, 2020
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Some of Cambodia's export items like garments, footwear and travel goods are now subject to the European Union's (EU) customs duties. The preferential treatment enjoyed by Cambodia under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade arrangement for least developed countries was temporarily ended from August 12 due to serious and systematic concerns related to human rights.

The EU enforced this measure while staying open to engage with Cambodia on the necessary reforms, it said in a press release. “We stand by their side also now in the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, 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.

The withdrawal of preferential access to the EU market concerns approximately 20 per cent of Cambodia's exports to the EU. Cambodia may still export those products to the EU but they will be subject to general tariffs applicable to any other member of the World Trade Organizstion. The remaining 80 per cent of Cambodia's exports continue to enjoy preferential (duty-free, quota-free) access to the EU market.

The EU will continue monitoring the situation in the country, with a particular focus on current restrictions in the areas of freedom of expression and civil and political rights, as well as land disputes and labour rights in the context of the ongoing reforms.

If Cambodia shows significant progress, particularly on civil and political rights, the Commission may review its decision and reinstate tariff preferences under the EBA arrangement, in line with the provisions of the EU generalised scheme of preferences.

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