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Article

6 Jun 2019

Author:
Chheng Niem, The Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia: Workers and unions express concerns over EBA trade preferences amid EU fact-finding delegations' visit

"EU visit: Workers, unions and politicians express EBA fears", 6 June 2019 

Workers, union leaders … have expressed fear over the consequences of losing access to the EU’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement – something analysts have described as “manageable”.

A team from the European Commission and European External Action Service is currently in Cambodia for talks as part of the official withdrawal process… Cambodia received access to EBA in 2003. But in February, after almost 17 years, the European Commission launched the official procedure which could lead to a whole or partial withdrawal. It cited human and labour rights violations, ...

Union leaders said the loss of EBA access would not only affect workers in the garment industry, which exports its products to the EU’s single market, but also have indirect consequences.

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), said development in Cambodia was a consequence of EBA, which had attracted investors in the garment and footwear industries.

…“We all are in this industry – both investors and workers. We do not want to see Cambodia lose its EBA access. We want to see Cambodia continue to grow. We want to see diversified job opportunities for the people,” Sina said.

“Currently, there are nearly one million workers. [The loss of EBA] would not only affect them but their families too, because workers are often the main source of income for these families,” said Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)…

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