The day of judgment: Cambodia’s EBA fate fast approaches, but what happens next?

On February 12, the EU will hand down its long-awaited verdict regarding Cambodia’s access to the preferential trade scheme Everything But Arms, a decision that looks set to shape the Kingdom for years to come. But what happens next?

Few acronyms stir up such animosity in Cambodia as EBA, the infamous Everything But Arms preferential trade status that guarantees duty-free and quota-free access on 99% of Cambodia’s exports to the European Union market.

A document published to the European Parliament website this weekend by Italian MEP Danilo Oscar Lancini seemed to inadvertently disclose that a partial withdrawal hitting certain products was imminent, but February 12 remains judgment day as the EU is set to officially decide on the Kingdom’s EBA fate. This follows an arduous 24-month period that has consumed headlines and shone an uncomfortably bright light on the government’s human and labour rights record.

But to make sense of the inevitable sound and fury that will surround the day should the EU decide to revoke EBA access, we need to go back to the beginning.

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