EU’s ‘privileged trade scheme’ suspension with Cambodia is a blessing in disguise

I would like to convey to the European Union the following message: There are responsible and foresighted Cambodian leaders from all political affiliations who understand that the partial suspension of the EU’s trade privilege scheme known as “Everything But Arms” (EBA) is a blessing in disguise in that it represents a powerful call for reform.

Cambodia has enjoyed EBA status since 2001. The EU announcement on 12 February raises the question of why Cambodia has for so long needed trade privileges.

Cambodia was told from the start that EBA needed to be used to diversify and improve the quality of its exports. Yet products made in Cambodia remain, overall, uncompetitive with similar goods manufactured in other less developed countries.

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