PHNOM PENH, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has unveiled some measures to support local manufacturers and exporters if the European Union (EU) temporarily strips trade preferences from the kingdom.
The EU began on Tuesday the 18-month process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia's duty-free trading access to the EU market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme due to concerns over human rights and labor rights.
The Ministry of Commerce issued a statement late on Tuesday, saying that it has canceled the Export Management Fee (EMF) charges, meaning that local exporters are no longer required to pay for a certificate of origin (CO).
Also, the exporters are not required to apply for a CO if it is not required by authorities in the destination country.
Previously, applying for a CO for garment products under 2,000 pieces or footwear under 200 pairs cost up to 23 U.S. dollars, according to a price table posted on the ministry's website.
The statement said the ministry has also pulled out the Cambodia Import Export Inspection and Fraud Repression (CamControl) unit from all border checkpoints to facilitate trade across the borders.
"These supporting measures will make the state lose multimillion U.S. dollars annually," the statement said.
Besides, ministries and institutions concerned have also worked to reduce production costs and transportation fees as well as to slash electricity tariffs, the statement said.
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the country has now stood up by itself and must continue to move forward with hope and confidence.
The prime minister said last month that the country still survives if the EU withdraws trade preferences from the kingdom.
To facilitate import and export activities, he said he decided to keep only two institutions, the immigration and the customs at all border checkpoints.
He said the government would also lower the fees on inspection of goods by scanning machines and the fees for getting customs papers stamped.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) 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.