The European Union will continue its enhanced engagement with Cambodia on the necessary reforms to restore its Everything but Arms (EBA) preferential access to the EU market, according to a statement.
On Wednesday the EU announced its official decision to partially withdraw Cambodia’s duty-free quota-free access to the 27-nation bloc.
However, the commission together with the European External Action Service (EEAS) said they will continue talks with Cambodia.
“The EU will continuously monitor the situation in the country, with a particular focus on current restrictions in the areas of freedom of expression and civil and political rights, as well as land disputes and labour rights in the context of the ongoing reforms,” the statement read.
The EU commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said that the EU has provided Cambodia with trade opportunities that let the country develop an export-oriented industry and gave jobs to thousands of Cambodians.
“We stand by their side also now in the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, our continued support does not diminish the urgent need for Cambodia to respect human rights and labour rights. I stand ready to continue our engagement and to restore fully free access to the EU market for products from Cambodia provided we see substantial improvement in that respect,” he said.
The EU said said local authorities should take action to restore political freedoms and re-establish the conditions for a credible opposition and initiate national reconciliation through genuine and inclusive dialogue.