Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Adidas raises EBA concerns

Adidas raises EBA concerns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An EU delegation holds a meeting with Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week. Hong Menea

Adidas raises EBA concerns

Sportswear giant Adidas has said that the EU should balance the human rights provisions in its trade policies and the impacts of the possible withdrawal of its Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

The Adidas call came as the European Commission, after the two-day visit to Cambodia of an EU delegation, said it hoped to see “sustained and concrete progress” regarding the areas of concern.

A report The Post received on Friday said that while Adidas agreed with the EU’s aims of addressing perceived concerns regarding human rights and civil rights violations in Cambodia, it asked that any decision to suspend the agreement “should thoroughly consider the economic, social and human rights impacts of such a withdrawal”.

Adidas said it was one of the largest buyers of apparel and footwear from Cambodia, with 24 per cent of its products manufactured in the Kingdom. Its suppliers employed more than 70,000 workers, of whom 90 per cent were women.

It said it welcomed the process to review the situation on grounds and the engagement with authorities and stakeholders to improve the human and civil rights situation.

“In case of a decision to suspend trade benefits, the European Commission should consider targeting specific sectors that are closely linked to the human and civil rights abuses. The garment and footwear sectors, with their significant footprint, should be excluded,” it said.

Adidas said the EU was faced with a difficult choice between upholding human rights norms and conventions, and balancing this against the economic incentives offered by such a scheme, which supported job creation and poverty alleviation in the Kingdom.

It said any proposed withdrawal of EBA benefits could put at risk Cambodia’s “pro-poor growth model” – the stimulating of economic growth for the benefit of the poor – curbing efforts to alleviate poverty and, in doing so, constrain the fulfilment of human rights for one of the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Should EBA be finally removed, the tariff application would be 12 per cent for apparel and eight per cent (leather uppers) to 17 per cent (synthetic uppers) for footwear, it said.

“This cannot be absorbed by Adidas and its retailers … it automatically leads to a reallocation of further investments in sourcing,” it warned.

Adidas said a withdrawal of the EBA benefits would put Cambodia at a significant competitive disadvantage to other least-developed and developing countries who continued to enjoy them.

It said while the new minimum wage in Cambodia exceeds that of other developing countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia was already losing its competitive advantage over other nations.

The European Commission officially launched the 12-month EBA withdrawal process last month. Last week, an EU delegation paid a visit to Cambodia as part of the review and monitoring process which calls for continued dialogue and engagement with the government.

The delegation issued a statement on Friday saying its visit was the first opportunity for dialogue during the monitoring and evaluation period.

“The European Commission and the EEAS [EU’s diplomatic European External Action Service] hope to see sustained and concrete progress in all areas of concern under EBA engagement, and look to Cambodia to urgently take the action needed in order to keep benefiting from EBA,” it said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • The Christian NGO empowering Cambodian families in Siem Reap

    With its basketball court, football pitch, tennis court and ninja warrior water sports area, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Siem Reap campus of International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Cambodia is a sports centre. But while these free, family-friendly activities are one of the