Phnom Penh, Aug 14:
Cambodia’s bid to offset the partial loss of a European Union preferential trade scheme by pursuing a free trade agreement (FTA) with China will leave the country poorer and beholden to Beijing experts in this subject have warned.
Last week Cambodia and China announced agreeing to trade negotiations which ministers in both sides say that it will bolster ties between the two nations and benefit them both.
The EU in mid-February announced plans to suspend tariff-free access to its market under the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) scheme for around one-fifth of Cambodia’s exports only.
The decision will result in a loss of around U.S. $1.1 billion of the country’s annual U.S. $5.8 billion in exports to the EU, some 75 percent of which are made up of clothing and textiles—a crucial industry in Cambodia that employs one million people.
China to seieze the oppurtunity, has stepped in to wield significant influence in Cambodia.