Cambodia PM: Maintaining sovereignty more important
It is more
important for Cambodia to maintain its independence and
sovereignty than to retain special trading privileges that
the European Union (EU) has threatened to withdraw, Prime
Minister Hun Sen said last week. Even with the loss of the
trade privileges, his country can export its products to the
EU as before, he told government officials.
earn lower profits, but the EU would no longer be able to
threaten or put any conditions on the country, global
newswires quoted the prime minister as saying.
announced earlier this year that it would begin a monitoring
process to decide whether to end duty-free and quota-free
imports from Cambodia because of concerns about its poor
record in human and labour rights.
Cambodia is one
of several developing nations with which the EU has an
‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) scheme granting preferential
access to the European market for goods other than weapons.
The EU on
November 12 handed over its preliminary evaluation report to
Cambodia, allowing a month for a response. The report is
confidential, but it is believed to be critical of Cambodia
for failing to improve its rights record.
A decision on
whether to withdraw the privileges is supposed to be made by
February next year.