PHNOM PENH —
A delegation from Europe on Tuesday began talks with Cambodian officials over sugar exports, garment factories and the relationship between the industries and alleged human rights violations.
The seven-member delegation met with top officials from Justice and Commerce, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Sugar plantations along the coast have been linked to land disputes, forced eviction and violence, making them potentially ineligible for preferential trade deals with Europe. And in January, violent security crackdowns on labor demonstrations led to the deaths of at least four people.
“There are questions over sugar, land disputes and questions over garment factories related to violent demonstrations,” Ken Ratha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, told reporters Tuesday.
“We explained to them the position of the government,” he said, following a meeting between the delegation and Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol. “His excellency expressed the willingness and determination of the government to address the problems.”
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, who led the delegation, declined to comment following Tuesday’s meeting.