Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sanctions and the EU




Sanctions and the EU

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rice seller near Phnom Penh Railway Station. Hong Menea

Sanctions and the EU

Has the EU just shot itself in the foot? The EU has been threatening to sanction Cambodia, for not conducting its elections as it was told to do, by withdrawing tariff exemptions under the Everything But Arms agreement.

But then, on January 16, the European Commission announced it was going to start imposing tariffs on Cambodian rice.

The reason? Nothing to do with elections, sanctions, arms or the like. No – it was only to protect European rice “producers” (in reality, probably not the producers but the big agribusinesses that exploit the real producers).

The move was in response to “a significant increase” of Cambodian (and Myanmar) rice imports into Europe. One might have thought that the aim of tariff exemptions was to allow an increase of imports of the relevant commodity. Clearly, such a view is naive.

The real aim is to portray the EU as magnanimously trying to help less developed countries – on the condition that doing so not impinge on the interests of anyone in Europe who matters. Your products can be tariff-free unless an EU competitor complains.

The European Commission statement says that the new import tax will be gradually reduced over three years. That will happen unless the EC changes its mind. For example, if the tax hasn’t sufficiently reduced Cambodian and Myanmar imports by then, it could be extended, or even increased, just as arbitrarily as the way in which it has just been imposed. Western “aid” tends to be like that.

So the message from the EU is this: Don’t do as you’re told and you’ll lose our “assistance”. Or do as you’re told and you’ll still lose our “assistance” when we feel like it.

It rather reduces the effectiveness of the sanctions threat, doesn’t it?

Allen Myers,
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said