EU: 80% of Cambodian Goods Still Enjoy Preferential Access

AKP Phnom Penh, August 12, 2020 —

As of today, Aug. 12, some of Cambodia’s typical export products such as garments, footwear and travel goods are subject to the European Union’s customs duties, but the EU reaffirmed clearly that most of Cambodian products still enjoy the preferential access to EU market, according to a press release AKP received this afternoon.

“The withdrawal of preferential access to the EU market concerns approximately 20 percent of Cambodia’s exports to the EU. Cambodia may still export those products to the EU but they will be subject to general tariffs applicable to any other member of the World Trade Organisation. The remaining 80 percent of Cambodia’s exports continue to enjoy preferential (duty-free, quota-free) access to the EU market,” it pointed out.

At the same time, the EU declared to be aware of the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Cambodia’s economy and employment and stands ready to support the country in its fight against the coronavirus crisis and towards economic recovery.

Speaking at a press conference here at the Peace Palace in late February this year, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia will not request the EU to take back its decision to partially withdraw the country’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) tariff benefits, and the Kingdom had already prepared to respond to this partial suspension (20 percent) of Cambodia’s duty-free quota-free access to the EU market.

“No need to exchange Cambodia’s sovereignty with some US$100 million that Cambodia will lose because of the partial suspension of EBA on our products exported to the EU,” the Premier stressed.

EU’s statistics show that the total trade in goods between Cambodia and EU in 2019 equalled € 5.6 billion.

According to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the EU’s decision withdraws benefits for a total of 40 tariff lines (1 sugar, 5 travel goods, 25 garment and 9 footwear).

(Photo: Khem Sovannara)

By Heng Panha