Phnom Penh (FN), June 6 – Cambodian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Prak Sokhonn met the European delegation led by the deputy secretary-general of the European External Action Service, Jean-Christophe Belliard, to discuss EBA issue.

Ministry’s spokesman Ket Sophann said that the meeting held on Thursday morning at the ministry was a part of fact-finding mission to decide on the temporary suspension of Cambodia's preferential access to the EU market under EBA trade system, which the European Commission announced since 11 February 2019.

EBA contributes to the growth of vulnerable developing countries by paying fewer or no duties on exports to the EU. EBA grants duty-free and quota-free access to the European Union for all products (except arms and ammunition) for the world's Least Developed Countries, as defined by the United Nations.

The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia on Wednesday was optimistic after a meeting with EU delegations that the kingdom will still have access to preferential trade, though not full.

The Royal Government reassured its people that losing EBA status would not hurt the Kingdom’s economy, claiming that EBA withdrawal would actually make Cambodia stronger, thanks to the prerequisites to strengthen institutional capacity, promote trade facilitation and productivities, and build human resources.

The EU delegation began its second fact-finding mission in the Kingdom on Monday, 3 June, to collect information and analyze whether the European Commission should suspend Cambodia’s preferential trade status.

Justice ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap said the EU delegation will hold talks with Minister Ang Vong Vathana today, June 6, to discuss improvements to the judicial system.