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17 Feb 2020

European Branded Clothing Alliance

Cambodia: European Branded Clothing Alliance urges Cambodian govt. to address human rights violations & EC to track progress with clear roadmap & timeline

"Statement on European Commission's Cambodia Decision", 13 February 2020

Following a year of investigations, …, the European Commission published its decision on the partial withdrawal of Cambodia’s preferential trade preferences... On the account of violations of human rights principles and due to insufficient progress made by Cambodian authorities, the Commission proposes to partially withdraw Cambodia’s EBA preferences for certain product categories, changing their status to the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause…

EBCA supports the EU’s commitment to high social and labour standards and condemns any violations against human and labour rights and strongly encourages the Cambodian authorities to continue work on the Commission’s conditions for a decision reversal… This decision will have a large impact, both economic and social, notably for the most vulnerable parts of the Cambodian population, i.e. the workers in the affected sectors.

EBCA members have a strong presence in Cambodia and engage actively to promote social and labour standards throughout the supply chain. EBCA believes enhanced engagement to be a powerful tool to raise environmental, social and societal conditions. By being present in the market, applying the brands’ high social and labour standards whilst simultaneously facilitating ownership through the education of workers, standards are being raised… The benefits of Cambodia’s EBA preferential status cannot be underestimated…

We urge the Cambodian authorities to commit to a better respecting of human and worker rights, as well as allowing more room for domestic political debate. We also would call upon the Commission to establish a clear roadmap and timeline for the Royal Government of Cambodia in order to track progress over the coming months…