Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban promised Cambodia to do advocacy to the European Union over an attempt to remove the trade preferential scheme Everything But Arms (EBA) to Cambodia—claiming that it is a political motive rather the real economic issue.
The commitment was made during the two-day official visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the first visit to the Government House in Budapest from 13-14 after both countries resume the diplomatic ties in 1956 and it had been broken off during the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975.
Mr. Viktor Orban was quoted in the state run TVK said that EBA issues were a disagreement between the EU and Cambodia.
“In the sense, Hungary always stood and supported Cambodia; especially Hungary did not support political issues and trade issues that got disagreement. Hungary will advocate with the European Union on EBA issues,” he was quoted as saying.
The EU in February launched a six-month period of intensive monitoring and engagement to analyse whether Cambodia should lose its EBA trade status.
The EU and the United States demanded that the government restore democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the wake of the CNRP being dissolved and press and civil society freedoms suppressed.
An EC and European External Action Service delegation wrapped up a visit to the Kingdom on June 10 and issued a statement on June 11 regarding its ongoing review of the Kingdom’s right to access the EBA.
Cambodia is the second largest beneficiary of EBA trade preferences, accounting for over 18 percent of all imports coming into the EU market in 2018. Of which, EU imports from Cambodia about €5.3 billion [less than $6 billion] in 2018, with over 95 percent taking advantage of EBA preferences. Clothing and textiles account for three quarters of EU imports from Cambodia [€4 billion, or about $4.5 billion.