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16 Feb 2020

Nikkei Asian Review; Khmer Times

Cambodia: Withdrawal of EU preferences will only push Cambodia towards China, says Nikkei Asian Review

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"Japanese business journal says punishing Cambodia is going to backfire on EU," 16 February 2020

...Japanese business journal, Nikkei Asian Review... said that removing tariff-free access will more likely to backfire, pushing Cambodia away from Europe and toward China.

“In taking the drastic step of suspending Cambodia’s tariff-free access to EU markets last week, the European Commission hoped it would incentivize Phnom Penh to repair human rights violations and improve its governance.

“EU foreign policy seeks to be simultaneously normative and strategic. Normative means it wants to export its purported norms, human rights and good governance, as a foreign policy priority.

But as the recent palm oil spat demonstrated, such...foreign policy negatively affects Europe’s strategic goals: Malaysia and Indonesia successfully lobbied against granting the EU strategic partnership status with ASEAN in retaliation for EU restrictions on palm oil"...

...[W]hile EBA seeks to incentivise governments to follow human rights and good governance best practices, everyone is aware that removing it will strike at the very people EBA intends to lift out of poverty.