EU Reinstates Duties on Key Cambodian Exports Over ‘Serious And Systematic’ Rights Concerns

The European Union on Wednesday reinstated duties on key exports from Cambodia that had enjoyed tariff-free access to its market, citing “serious and systematic concerns related to human rights,” dealing a blow to an economy already reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The withdrawal of duty-free, quota-free access to the EU’s market under the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) scheme for some 20 percent of Cambodia’s exports—a decision that was announced in February—went into effect because the country’s government failed to reverse rollbacks on democracy and other freedoms, the European Commission (EC) said in a statement. Affected exports include goods from Cambodia’s vital garment and footwear industries.

“We have provided Cambodia with trade opportunities that let the country develop an export-oriented industry and gave jobs to thousands of Cambodians,” Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said, adding that the EU intends to “stand by their side” as the country works to battle the pandemic.

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