Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Friday, October 11 2019 - 07:00
Conscience over coercion: The Asian Vision Institute calls on the European Union to find a middle ground in its deliberations regarding the "Everything But Arms" trade partnership with Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

Officials from the European Commission and the European External Action Service 
are assessing Cambodia's standing in the Everything But Arms (EBA) deal. The 
EBA allows Cambodia to export products other than weapons to the EU at zero 
tariff and quota free. 

Officials in Brussels say the EU is committed to working with Cambodian 
authorities to find a middle ground. The Asian Vision Institute (AVI), in its 
mission to promote inclusive and sustainable societies, wholeheartedly supports 
the EU's commitment to finding a positive outcome.

Cambodia is home to one of the younger work forces in the world. Some 800,000 
women and men work in the garment, footwear and luggage industries. Garment 
export contributes to about 40% of Cambodia's GDP. The EU is the largest market 
for Cambodian textile products, accounting for about 46%. 

If the EBA is revoked, some 250,000 workers are expected to be out of a job. 
Manufacturers speak of making do and of improving productivity in the absence 
of the tariff deal, but they have little or no room to maneuver. 

Without the EBA deal, it is estimated that European retail prices for goods 
made in Cambodia will rise by about 12 percent. There has long been a mutually 
beneficial relationship between Cambodia and the EU.

The government of Cambodia says its sovereignty will not be compromised in 
exchange for aid or preferential treatment. The EU, for its part, seeks to be 
accountable to its constituents as it strives to uphold the values it holds 
dear. The lines are clearly drawn and somewhere between the two lies room for 
tolerance, for flexibility and for the ingenuity that have allowed the EBA to 
evolve and to lift millions from poverty. Cambodia is grateful for the 
contribution made by the EU in poverty reduction. 

In this regard, the Asian Vision Institute urges the EU to take an objective, 
holistic and humanitarian approach to its deliberations. A revocation will 
affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Cambodian workers and their 
families and the collateral damage on the economy is incalculable. At the very 
least, a withdrawal of the EBA will derail Cambodia's efforts to achieve its 
Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – goals which the EU has pledged to 
support, by assisting nations that embrace them. 

Cambodia, as a bridging state in Southeast Asia, wishes to see a more active 
role and engagement of the EU in the region. Moreover, amidst rising 
uncertainties stemming from unilateralism and protectionism, Cambodia and the 
EU are compelled to cooperate closely to strengthen an open, inclusive, and 
rules-based multilateral system, particularly to enhance an ASEAN-EU 

The Asian Vision Institute (AVI) is an independent 
think tank based in Cambodia. 

Media Contact: Dr Chheng Kimlong, Director of the Centre for Governance 
Innovation and Democracy, AVI, Phone: +855-6121-1800; Email:

SOURCE  The Asian Vision Institute (AVI)