Deal With China, Just Ahead of EU Trade Penalties, Is About ‘Diversification,’ Officials Say

Two weeks ahead of Europe raising tariffs on Cambodia over human-rights concerns, officials explained the finalization of a free-trade deal with China as being about expanding the range of Cambodian exports, not making up for the loss.

Sok Sopheak, secretary of state for the Commerce Ministry, told a press conference on Tuesday that the products that will be promoted under the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement are different from the items that will most likely regain tariffs in the E.U. market when the bloc’s partial repeal of Cambodia’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) deal goes into effect on August 12.

The E.U. announced its partial suspension of the EBA in February due to Cambodia’s “serious and systematic violations” of human rights.

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