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Introduction of Trade Act is unacceptable: AmCham Cambodia

Mar '19
Introduction of Trade Act is unacceptable: AmCham Cambodia
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Cambodia is deeply concerned over the introduction of the Cambodia Trade Act of 2019 in the US Senate. Appreciating the desire of US lawmakers to pressurise the Cambodian Government for domestic political actions viewed as unacceptable, the chamber believes this approach will prove counterproductive.

The primary effects of generalised system of preferences (GSP) removal will be felt by the factory workers and their families whose livelihoods depend on the trade supported by this preference, the chamber said.

US businesses will suffer from a perceived lack of stability in the Cambodian economy and a further degradation of the trade relationship between the two nations, it said.

With regards to the official eligibility criteria for GSP, the chamber believes Cambodia’s compliance remains unchanged since GSP was first granted. Worker’s rights and working conditions have made significant progress over the past decade and there continues to be ongoing reform, it said in a release.

Child labour, an area critical for eligibility and for US business ethical standards, is an excellent example where the International Labour Organization reports a significant decrease to less than ten cases in 2018, down from 74 cases in 2013, said the chamber.

The chamber believes the use of the GSP review process as a means for sending a political message, which is unrelated to the spirit of the 1974 Trade Act, will drastically decrease the goodwill and progress this system has created among the ordinary Cambodian citizen.

It would also undermine decades of hard work by American aid programs, non-governmental organisations, businesses and citizens who have labored to build the United States’ brand as a partner in Cambodia’s development and to create deep people-to-people ties with the Cambodian people, it added. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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April 2019

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