Reactions to possible EBA status loss

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
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Prime Minister Hun Sen speaking at the annual meeting of the Interior Ministry. KT/Kem Sovannara

The Cambodian government asks all workers, especially garment workers, to carry on as usual and not worry about the possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s preferential treatment under the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme.

The EU started a six-month period of intensive monitoring and engagement with Cambodian authorities on Feb. 11, which might lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia’s preferential access to the European market.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Interior Ministry’s annual meeting, on Thursday (Feb. 14), the Prime Minister told workers not to be concerned about the opinions/rumours they hear.

“To all workers: if you still have job with decent income, disregard what others say. Please, our people shouldn’t care about what others say if they can still get a salary. If some Cambodians should no longer have an income, the government can pay members of the arm forces, civil servants, retirees, and others for 12 months.”

Sewers at a garment factory in Cambodia
Sewers at a garment factory in Cambodia. KT/Mai Vireak

Heng Sour, a spokesman for the Labour Ministry, told workers not to worry and “not to be unsettled by the rumours spread by certain groups within our society that want to intimidate you.

The government has clear plans and strategies of how to respond to the EBA case at each stage, ensuring the balance of the economy and the stability of the labour market.”

Far Saly, the National Trade Unions Coalition’s president, is concerned and ponders if employers will keep their workers during the EU monitoring period and afterward, should Cambodia lose its EBA status.

Nonetheless, “We [the NTUC] trust and believe that the government will try its best to handle the issue.”

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