Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese envoy accuses EU of using EBA to interfere in Cambodia’s affairs

Chinese envoy accuses EU of using EBA to interfere in Cambodia’s affairs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo met with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon in November 2016. Heng Chivoan

Chinese envoy accuses EU of using EBA to interfere in Cambodia’s affairs

Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo has criticised the European Union (EU) for threatening Cambodia’s participation in the bloc’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trading scheme if it failed to live up to its obligations enshrined in the trading program.

Xiong made his remarks when speaking to students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He said the EU should not exploit the Kingdom’s political situation to put commercial and economic pressure on it.

Answering a student’s question, Xiong said trade relations should be conducted according to trade and economic rules and shouldn’t change for political reasons.

“I think in terms of trade relations between the EU and Cambodia, these trade relations should not be changed in accordance to any political reasons. It is our hope that the EU can seek to correct this path and take real action to uphold free trade.

“We think that some European countries would like to change trade rules for political reasons that would be agreed to by all European countries.

“No matter what the EU decides to do, China will continue to expand and deepen our corporation with Cambodia in all fields, especially in term of trade and economic relations,” he said.

He said the EU’s EBA scheme – which grants developing countries duty-free access for certain products to member states’ markets – should not be used as a political weapon to interfere in the Kingdom’s internal affairs.

Earlier this month, the EU said it could remove Cambodia’s duty-free access to its markets if the government failed to address perceived human rights violations, including the jailing of former opposition leader Kem Sokha and the Supreme Court dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Political analyst Meas Ny said it was normal for Western countries to impose conditions in conducting trade and investment, and that the Cambodian government should ensure that Chinese investments furthered peace.

“We want to have investment bringing peace to our country – not investment that benefits a small group of people. We are still a vulnerable country,” he said.

In June, Prime Minister Hun Sen sent senior adviser Sok Siphana to Brussels in order to persuade the EU not to withdraw the EBA scheme.

China has invested billions of dollars in Cambodia in the past few years via direct investment, loans, concessions and grants.

In supporting Xiong’s remarks, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan insisted that the government does not violate human rights and that it is untrue that democracy had taken a step backwards in the Kingdom.

He said Ny was not independent and his remarks did not reflect the reality in Cambodia.

“The analyst just analyses without clear principles. It is just the opinion shared by one or two people and is not based on reality. Countries that promote mutual interests are honest and helpful friends – they help us and we help them."

“Cambodia receives aid from China and they say that we are under China’s influence or that we sell ourselves to China. We follow China’s policy and so we lose our independence and sovereignty, they say.

“Therefore, they should accuse the US as well because that country conducts thousands, tens of thousands times more trade with China. Why don’t they accuse the US of being under China’s influence?"

“The EU also buys products from China, so the EU should be accused of being under China’s influence as well,” he reasoned.

MOST VIEWED

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is