Cambodia’s rice farmers in serious danger

Half a million Cambodian farmers could possibly be looking at empty rice bowls if the European Union (EU) pushes through with the withdrawal of its Everything But Arms (EBA) trade preference.

While the garment and footwear sectors stand to lose the most if the EBA trade scheme – which gives 49 of the world’s least developed countries tax-free access to vital EU markets for all exports except for arms and ammunition – is removed, Cambodia’s rice industry could be staring at tough times ahead.

Already forced to deal with a historic drought and the reintroduction of an EU tariff on rice which has cut exports to Europe in half, Cambodia’s rice farmers now also have to worry about the possibility that that EBA duty-free preference will be suspended following the EU’s concerns about political freedom, human rights and labour rights.

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