In blow to Hun Sen, EU cuts Cambodia trade deal

EU partially suspends Everything But Arms preferential tariff scheme in punitive response to an anti-democratic crackdown.

The European Commission formally announced today (February 12) that Cambodia will be partially removed from a preferential trade scheme, a damning decision for the country’s export-driven economy which counts Europe as its largest and most lucrative market.

The European Union (EU) began a review of Cambodia’s trade privileges last year following the forced dissolution of the country’s main opposition party and the arrest of its leader in late 2017.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement on February 12 that “the [EU] will not stand and watch as democracy is eroded, human rights curtailed, and free debate silenced. Today’s decision reflects our strong commitment to the Cambodian people, their rights, and the country’s sustainable development.”

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