Prime Minister Hun Sen has renewed accusations of double standards by the European Union over the possible suspension of the Kingdom’s Everything-but-arms trade status during his visit to Geneva.
Mr Hun Sen is attending a three-day meeting on Aid for Trade Global Review in Switzerland and will return to the Kingdom tomorrow.
Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister, said Mr Hun Sen made the criticism during a bilateral sideline meeting with World Trade Organisation director-general Roberto Azevedo on Wednesday, where the topic of EBA was discussed.
“During the meeting with [Mr Azevedo] the Prime Minster raised the issue of double standards in the European Union framework, especially in the process of suspending the Kingdom’s EBA trade status,” Mr Kim Hourn said. “He emphasised to the WTO director general that ‘with the EBA, Cambodia still will not become a rich country, if we lose the EBA, Cambodia will survive’.”
He said that Mr Hun Sen noted that the government is undergoing economic reforms in order to prepare for impending challenges.
“He said Cambodia is pushing for internal economic and trade reforms and that Cambodia will continue to strengthen its capacity to expand its market,” Mr Kim Hourn said, quoting Mr Hun Sen., adding that the WTO is still a good partner for Cambodia.
“Cambodia will conduct long term economic reforms because Cambodia has a specific target to become a developed country in the future,” he added.
In February, the European Union started a six-month process of intense monitoring and engagement that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia’s preferential access to the bloc’s market under the EBA trade scheme.
Full story in Friday’s paper