Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has begun a four-day visit to China amidst cooling relations with Brussels. China is a long-term backer of Cambodia, supporting it against Vietnam under Khmer Rouge rule, and more recently it is interested in Cambodia’s strategic position in southeast Asia.
Hun Sen’s arrival in Beijing on Sunday came just days after the EU reinstated “normal” customs duty on rice imports from Cambodia. As of 18 January, it will pay 175 euros per tonne, to be reduced progressively over three years.
Before this weekend, Cambodia benefitted from the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme, which grants duty-free access to the world’s least developed countries.