Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Businesses express ‘deepest’ EBA concerns

Businesses express ‘deepest’ EBA concerns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Garment workers are working in the factory at the outskirt of Phnom Penh City last year. The Post's Staff

Businesses express ‘deepest’ EBA concerns

Private companies have expressed their “deepest concerns” over the potential withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential scheme. In a joint letter to the European Commission, they said the move will negatively impact the Kingdom.

The letter, signed by 40 of the Kingdom’s private companies, called on the EU and member countries in the bloc to continue their support of Cambodia’s development.

The letter reads: “As representatives of Cambodia’s private sector, workers and international civil society, we would like to express our deepest concerns with respect to the process of withdrawing the preferences offered to the Kingdom under the EBA arrangement."

“Withdrawal of the arrangement will jeopardise progress by directly harming the livelihoods of millions of workers and their families that rely on employment within the garment sector, placing them once again at risk of returning to poverty.”

The letter adds that the potential withdrawal is most concerning for Cambodia’s rural women, who make up 85 per cent of the 700,000 garment workers and therefore will likely suffer the most from the social and economic repercussions of changes to the status quo.

Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd president and owner Keo Mom said the withdrawal would impact both producers and consumers.

“Speaking for producers, I am very worried about the possibility of an EBA withdrawal, especially for large sectors such as garment and rice exports,” she said.

Mom said though Cambodia currently sees limited competition due to high production costs elsewhere, the withdrawal would heavily impact the Kingdom’s competition. “EBA withdrawal would make exporting to the EU more difficult,” she said.

Emerging Markets Consulting senior adviser Ngeth Chou said even though the government shows no concern about EBA withdrawal, the private sectors are concerned about losing the benefits of exporting goods to the EU.

“If the EU decides to withdraw EBA from Cambodia, the private sectors will lose benefits. However, the impact could be offset depending on the government’s actions,” he said.

Chou said the government can help promote private sectors by reducing production and transportation costs.

“The garment sector will be impacted negatively if the EU withdraws the status,” he said.

However, government officials played down the concern, saying it is normal for private sectors to express such issues.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan on Tuesday said the private sectors’ concerns were their duty because the withdrawal could result in revenue loss. The government is not concerned.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia is not worried because we have been preparing for more than a year to support the private sectors by strengthening diplomatic ties with many countries around the world to seek new markets, strengthen the legal sector, reduce production costs, and lower electricity costs, taxes and informal payments,” he said.

He said as far as the government is concerned, losing EBA is not a new thing because Cambodians’ income today goes beyond the ‘red line’, which is already beyond EBA’s target terms, so losing EBA is unavoidable.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma