Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has expressed his hope that China will continue to support Cambodia after the European Union withdraws 20 percent of the Kingdom’s special trade status under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.
The premier said on Monday at the press conference held at the Peace Palace.
When Prime Minister Hun Sen paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, on 5 February 2020, he has requested the Chinese government to assist Cambodia: (1) encourage Chinese investors in Cambodia to continue operating their factories; (2) to further attract more investors to Cambodia; and (3) open market for Cambodian goods.
Currently, Cambodia’s exports to international markets amounts to USD 14 billion in which USD 4 billion to European market and over USD 10 billion to other countries, including China, Japan and South Korea.
The premier said that the partial suspension of EBA will not kill Cambodia.
On 12 February 2020, the European Commission issued a decision to partially suspend the EBA tax preferences from Cambodia for certain products in the garment, footwear, traveling products and cane sugar.
Immediately after the decision, the Royal Government of Cambodia expressed regrets over the decision of European Commission regarding the unjust decision on the temporary partial withdrawal of the EBA trade preferences.
“The application of the concept of [serious and systematic violation] enshrined in the GSP Regulation, triggered by many misperceptions and misunderstandings about the actual realities in Cambodia, has been applied arbitrarily to launch the withdrawal procedure against our country,” Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in the statement dated 12 February 2020.
“Despite grounding on the EU’s values and principles of human rights and democracy, the decision is politically driven and is devoid of objectivity and impartiality, two fundamental principles which are to be expected from the EC as a supra-national body,” it continued.
“The Government remains firm in its principled position in rejecting any attempt by external parties in their use of trade and development assistance as pretexts to justify their interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs… Cambodia remains firmly committed to further enhancing its relations with the European Union based on the spirit of mutual respect and interest all the while reaffirming its full aspiration to remain within the region a multiparty liberal democracy,” the statement underlined.