Cambodia loses duty-free access to the EU market over human rights concerns
As of today, 12 August, some of Cambodia’s typical export products such as garments, footwear and travel goods are subject to the European Union’s customs duties. The EU’s decision to partially withdraw Cambodia’s duty-free quota-free access to the EU market is now effective. The preferential treatment enjoyed by Cambodia under ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) – the EU’s trade arrangement for Least Developed Countries – is now temporarily lifted due to serious and systematic concerns related to human rights ascertained in the country.
Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, said: “We have provided Cambodia with trade opportunities that let the country develop an export-oriented industry and gave jobs to thousands of Cambodians. 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.”
The withdrawal of preferential access to the EU market concerns approximately 20% of Cambodia’s exports to the EU. The EU will keep on monitoring the situation in the country. If the government of Cambodia shows significant progress, particularly on civil and political rights, the Commission may review its decision and reinstate tariff preferences under the ‘Everything But Arms’ arrangement, in line with the provisions of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences. For more information, see the full press release, a press release on the withdrawal decision taken in February 2020 and the pages on EU-Cambodia trade relations and the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, including the Everything But Arms arrangement.