EU reinstates trade duties on some Cambodian imports

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The European Union on Wednesday withdrew preferential market access to Cambodian products such as garments and footwear, hitting about a fifth of the country’s exports to the bloc over “serious and systematic concerns related to human rights”.

The EU first announced the move in February and the bloc’s Brussels-based executive said on Wednesday Cambodia made no amends since then, meaning the decision was now effective.

“The Cambodian authorities should take action to restore political freedoms in the country, to re-establish the necessary conditions for a credible, democratic opposition and to initiate a process of national reconciliation through genuine and inclusive dialogue,” the European Commission said.

Cambodia, which in 2018 was the second-highest beneficiary of EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme for trade support to the world’s poorest countries, started a broad crackdown on the opposition, civil society and the media ahead of an election that year.

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