PHNOM PENH, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government said on Tuesday that the European Commission (EC)'s decision to launch the formal procedure for the temporary withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferences for Cambodia disregards the measures and progress the country has made in relevant fields.
"The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) considers this decision as an extreme injustice when the EC disregards the concrete measures and substantial progresses made by the government in its adherence and commitment to the implementation of the 15 UN and ILO core Conventions," said a government statement.
"The RGC is of the view that the EC has not acted on the principles of good faith and fairness," it said.
"By launching the formal procedure of EBA withdrawal for Cambodia, the EC takes the risk of negating twenty years' worth of development efforts which the RGC had persevered to pull millions of people out of poverty," it said.
The statement came a day after the EC started the 18-month process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia's preferential access to the European market under the EBA agreement due to concerns over human rights and labor rights in the country.
The European Union (EU) is a major trading partner for Cambodia, especially for textiles and footwear sector. As a Least Developed Country, Cambodia has enjoyed exports of all products, except arms and ammunition, to the European market with zero percent tariff since 2001.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia said on Monday that a suspension of EBA would increase tariffs by 12 percent in the garment sector and by 8 to 17 percent for footwear.