go to top
Cambodians hold a protest demanding the release of opposition leader Kem Sokha, Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 18, 2017 (DPA photo by Wiktor Dabkowski via AP Images).

The EU Steels for a Trade Fight With Cambodia Over Its Human Rights Record

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018

Cambodia has made significant progress on reducing poverty since its transition to democracy in the 1990s, yet millions still remain at risk of falling back into destitution given the nation’s shaky dependence on foreign money, both from trading partners and aid donors. That’s why many Cambodians will be desperately hoping the European Union’s recent threat to suspend valuable trade preferences does not actually come to fruition.

In early October, the EU announced that it was formally looking into removing Cambodia’s special trade status, known as “Everything But Arms,” which gives developing nations duty-free access to export into Europe. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said she told Cambodia the EU had launched a six-month review. That was in response to Cambodia’s sharp democratic decline in the lead-up to a pivotal election in July, which Hun Sen—the country’s autocratic ruler, in power since the 1980s—ruthlessly manipulated in his favor. Cambodia’s once-free press has been further silenced; more dissidents have been detained; the increasingly popular opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was dissolved; and its leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested, then released on house arrest last month. Needless to say, Cambodia is now a one-party state. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.