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27 Nov 2019

Sokhean Ben, Khmer Times

Cambodia: PM says EU's demands for Cambodia to retain trade preferences unacceptable; while labour rights activist demands govt. consider those demands

"Hun Sen slams EU over unacceptable EBA demands", 22 November 2019

Prime Minister Hun Sen ... said demands being made by the European Union in order for the Kingdom to retain its Everything-but-arms trade status are unacceptable and will not be fully implemented.

“We cannot accept what they demand,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech at an inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh. “We cannot exchange our legal system and independence [to retain the EBA].”

Mr Hun Sen’s comments came after the European Commission filed a preliminary report with the government ... regarding steps the government must take to retain its EBA status...

The EU has been demanding that the government “restore democracy and the rule of law, and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”, referring to the dissolution of the opposition party and crackdowns on civil society and press freedom...

The EU is one of Kingdom’s biggest markets for textile and garment products with duty-free access under the EBA. The EU market accounts for about 40 percent of Cambodia’s exports.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, yesterday said the government should fulfil the EU’s demands to retain the EBA.

Mr Tola said that investors will move to other countries if the EBA is withdrawn, noting that the government should provide stronger support to investors so they still do business in the Kingdom.

“If the government can provide subsidies for their investments, it will be good,” he said...