EU to end privileges on some Cambodia exports: lawmaker

Decision due Wednesday could hurt nation’s $9.5bn apparel sector

SHAUN TURTON, Contributing writer, Nikkei Rewiew Japan

FEBRUARY 09, 2020 12:42 JST

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s human rights record has been criticized by the European Union, which is set to announce its decision Wednesday on removing trade privileges on some Cambodian exports. (Nikkei montage/Reuters)

PHNOM PENH — The European Union is set to withdraw trade privileges on some Cambodian exports after a yearlong review of the Southeast Asian nation’s widely-condemned human rights record, according to a document uploaded to the European Parliament’s website.

An official announcement on whether Cambodia will retain its duty-free access to the bloc under the Everything But Arms scheme for least developed countries is due on Wednesday.

But in what appears an inadvertent disclosure of the widely anticipated decision, details were included in a file uploaded to the European Parliament website.

The document — submitted by Italian MEP Danilo Oscar Lancini on behalf of the far-right Identity and Democracy Party — appeared to point to a partial suspension of Cambodia’s EBA privileges.

It did not specify which products had lost their duty-free access, but noted rice was not among them.

Lancini, who did not respond to a request for comment, is a member of the parliament’s Committee on International Trade.

His submission details proposed amendments to a resolution about the EU’s free trade agreement with Vietnam. It was in this context that Cambodia’s EBA status was referenced. Among the proposed revisions, which express concern about the impact of Vietnamese rice imports on the bloc’s market, the ID Party also pointed to Cambodia as a threat.

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