EU sends Hun Sen a sharp message

The European Commission’s announcement last week of the partial suspension of Cambodia’s duty- and quota-free access to European Union (EU) markets deals a blow to both the Hun Sen government and his country’s economy given the EU is Cambodia’s largest trading partner.

Cambodia will lose reduced tariffs on 20% (worth US$1.1 billion) of its exports to the EU. The trade privileges were granted under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) programme — an initiative in which the EU imports goods from the least developed countries without imposing tax and quota restrictions.

The suspension will take effect on Aug 12 from which the standard tariffs will be imposed on Cambodia’s all travel goods, sugar and some garment and footwear products.

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