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Cambodia's NACC write to EU over planned EBA suspension

Jun '19
The National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia (NACC) has requested the European Union (EU) to change its plan to suspend the ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) trade agreement with the country as that will affect the livelihoods of three million workers, with 43 per cent of garment workers—nearly 225,000—and one-fifths of footwear workers—over 20,000—losing their jobs.

NACC cited research and history to plead that economic sanctions lead to a rise in poverty, especially among women, minority communities and other marginalised groups, the chamber said in a press release.

Apparel, footwear and travel goods account for 80 per cent of Cambodia's total exports. The combined sales to Europe and the United States were worth $8.5 billion in 2018—equivalent to nearly 38 per cent of Cambodia's gross domestic product (GDP).

The EBA arrangement allows EU members to import products other than armaments free of tariffs and quotas.

Criticising Western companies and retailers, NACC said while they express concern for rights and wages, they seek to keep their costs low and some companies have even threatened to take their manufacturing elsewhere.

"For many years, Cambodia has been a pawn in a game of brinkmanship where external players sought to have their cake and it too. The time has come to deal with the realities of a rapidly changing world," said NACC president Som Aun. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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June 2019

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