A Kampong Speu sugar industry representative has called on the government and European Union to seek to preserve Cambodia’s trade rights under the EU’s Everything But Arms scheme.
The EU is currently assessing Cambodia’s membership of the scheme following a deterioration in human rights and democratic standards.
The EU recognized Kampong Speu palm sugar as a protected commodity earlier this month.
Som Saroeun, president of Kampong Speu Palm Sugar Promotion Association, said he hoped politicians could understand the harsh realities facing business in the event Cambodia was expelled from the scheme.
“We have asked the relevant stakeholders to not say anything unreasonable. Cambodians are waiting expectantly,” he said.
Hym Piseth, deputy director at sugar producer Confirel, said he believed the government would do all it could to retain its trade privileges.
Seang Thay, the commerce spokesman, said Cambodia would still be a competitive exporter if the EBA was withdrawn and the government was taking steps to reform its economy to prepare for a worst-case scenario.
“With [the EU recognition of Cambodian products, they can sell at high price, meaning that they make a profit from exports from Cambodia. So, if there is no EBA, they still have the energy to compete. But if there is EBA, the profit will be bigger,” he said.