The European Union Commission announced on Wednesday that it will suspend trade privileges on certain products exported from Cambodia to the economic bloc, affecting more than $1 billion in exports and partially imposing tariffs on selected garment and footwear exports.
After a year-long withdrawal procedure, the EU Commission said it had decided to suspend the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) trade privileges on all travel goods and sugar exports, but imposed only a partial suspension on garment and footwear products.
The suspension would affect 20 percent of exports to the EU, amounting to $1.1 billion annually, the Commission said.
“The withdrawal amounts to around one-fifth or €1 billion of Cambodia's yearly exports to the EU. Unless the European Parliament and the Council object, this will take effect on 12 August 2020,” the statement reads.
The investigation was launched following concerns raised by the EU over the human rights record of Cambodia. The Commission said on Wednesday that it saw “no significant progress” on improving the rights situation.
"The European Union will not stand and watch as democracy is eroded, human rights curtailed, and free debate silenced. Today's decision reflects our strong commitment to the Cambodian people, their rights, and the country's sustainable development," said Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission.
The EU is Cambodia's largest trading partner, accounting for 45 percent of Cambodian exports in 2018. Exports to the EU from Cambodia reached around $5.8 billion in 2018.