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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,