Cambodia to Lose Preferential Trade Status With EU Amid Worsening Rights Record

The European Union on Friday informed Cambodia that it will lose preferential trade status unless it makes “clear and demonstrable improvements” to its rights record, as dictated by a tariff-free export scheme the country benefits from when sending goods to the bloc, according to media reports.

The EU launched a fact-finding mission to Cambodia in early July to assess whether Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government was adhering to its commitments in the Generalised Scheme of Preferences—an agreement that grants Cambodian exports tax-free entry into the European market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

Weeks after the investigation, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) steamrolled a general election widely seen as unfree and unfair following the Supreme Court’s dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for its role in an alleged plot to topple the government—guaranteeing strongman Hun Sen another term in office to add to his three decades in power.

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