In February 2019, the European Union launched an 18-month process over whether or not to maintain Cambodia’s preferential access to the EU market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme. The review follows what the European Union perceives as ‘the deterioration of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Cambodia’.
Analysts, civil society members and many in the private sector have expressed concern over the European Union’s potential suspension of the trade scheme, due to how much is at stake for Cambodia. The EBA scheme allows Cambodia to export anything to the EU market, with the exception of weapons, duty-free and quota-free. In return Cambodia must fulfil its obligations to the core UN and International Labour Organization conventions. Cambodia was granted access to the scheme, offered to most Least Developed Countries, in 2001.
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