Cambodia “must show real, credible improvement” on human and labor rights if it hopes to avoid losing preferential trade status, according to the European Union, drawing condemnation from a government spokesman who suggested that Phnom Penh has no intention to comply.
The EU statement came at the end of a June 3-10 fact-finding mission, sent to Cambodia as part of a six-month monitoring period ending in mid-August to determine whether the country’s exports should continue to enjoy tax-free entry into the European market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.
The decision was prompted by a November 2017 ruling by Cambodia’s Supreme Court to ban the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)—part of a wider crackdown by Prime Minister Hun Sen on the political opposition, NGOs, and the independent media that paved the way for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to win all 125 seats in parliament in the country’s July 2018 general election.
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