Several unions yesterday sent petitions to ambassadors from the European Union and the United States asking that sanctions against the country be avoided to protect the livelihoods of workers.
The petitions were signed by the Confederation of Cambodian Workers-Movement, the Independent Labour Union Coalition, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, the Cambodia Development People Life Association and the Association of Domestic Workers. Pav Sina, president of CCW, said the unions represent workers in all sectors and are very concerned about threats of economic sanctions in retaliation for the recent dissolution of the opposition CNRP.
There are fears that the US could remove preferential treatment for Cambodian exports offered under its Generalised System of Preferences, while the EU could do the same for privileges provided through its Everything But Arms initiative.
“We are really worried about sanctions such as stopping tax breaks on apparel exports and cutting duty free deals. That would seriously affect the economy, workers and Cambodian people, the majority of whom depend on this sector,” said Mr Sina.
The five unions asked the EU and US ambassadors to continue importing products and increase orders, to boost the livelihoods of Cambodian people.
The US and the EU are the two major markets for the kingdom’s garment and footwear industry, accounting for 65 per cent of orders.
Total exports of garments and footwear rose by 7.2 per cent to $7.3 billion in 2016, up from $6.8 billion in 2015.
Maja Kocijancic, the EU spokesman for foreign affairs, earlier this month issued a statement saying the Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the CNRP was a significant step away from the path of pluralism and democracy enshrined in Cambodia’s constitution.
“Respect of fundamental human rights is a prerequisite for Cambodia to continue to benefit from the EU’s preferential Everything But Arms scheme,” Mr Kocijancic said.
The US government meanwhile terminated support for the National Election Committee and its administration of the upcoming 2018 national election in light of the CNRP dissolution.
- Tags: ambassadors, Cambodian workers, European Union, livelihoods of workers, petitions, sanctions, the Association of Domestic Workers, the Cambodia Development People Life Association, the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, the Confederation of Cambodian Workers-Movement, the Independent Labour Union Coalition, The United States, unions