Canada To Drop Tariffs, Quotas for Cambodia

Canadian Ambassador Steph­anie Beck met Thursday with Prime Minister Hun Sen to brief him on a new Canadian economic initiative to drop tariffs and quotas to all goods—including garments—in 2003. The Canadian initiative will be offered to all of the world’s lesser-developed countries—with the exception of Burma—starting Jan 1, 2003, a Canadian Embassy official said.

Garment exports to Canada have so far been minimal.

Last year, Cambodian manufacturers exported about $19 million in goods to Canada, the official said. Of that, about 96 percent were garments, he said. The export market for garments had been limited by a quota, and the elimination of that would open a wide market for exports to Canada, the official said.

Producers are eligible for the initiative if 25 percent of the value added to a product comes from Cambodia. A similar European Union initiative requires that 50 percent of the value added to any product come from the lesser-developed countries.

The initiative would also open the market for agricultural products, provided they meet certain hygienic standards and other requirements, the official said.

The Cambodian government will now have to sign an agreement with Canada to allow Canadian inspectors into the customs system to ensure rules are properly followed.

A date for that agreement has not yet been reached, the official said, because Canadian officials still must iron out some of the technical aspects of the economic initiative.

Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh is scheduled to be briefed on the new agreement on Sept 9, the official said.

Cham Prasidh said last week he had heard of the initiative and was waiting to be briefed.

 

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