On 12 February 2012, the European Commission announced its decision to withdraw part of the tariff preferences granted to Cambodia under the EBA scheme “due to the serious and systematic violations of the human rights principles enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. The withdrawal will affect selected garment and footwear products, all travel goods and sugar, and amounts to one fifth of Cambodia’s yearly exports to the EU. The withdrawal will take effect on 12 August 2020 unless the European Parliament and the Council object.
The decision comes after a process of “enhanced engagement” of the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) with Cambodia, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Enhanced engagement aims to facilitate and incentivise countries that are beneficiaries of the EU’s Generalized Preference Scheme (including the Everything But Arms duty-free, quota-free scheme for LDCs) to make progress in human rights and labour rights. Access to these preferential trade schemes is conditional on adherence to the principles of 15 core human rights and labour rights international conventions. Enhanced engagement with Bangladesh and Myanmar is ongoing.
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