Conscience over coercion: The Asian Vision Institute calls on the European Union to find a middle ground in its deliberations regarding the “Everything But Arms” trade partnership with Cambodia

Conscience over coercion: The Asian Vision Institute calls on the European Union to find a middle ground in its deliberations regarding the “Everything But Arms” trade partnership with Cambodia

Canada NewsWire

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 10, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Officials from the European Commission and the European External Action Service are assessing Cambodia’s standing in the Everything But Arms (EBA) deal. The EBA allows Cambodia to export products other than weapons to the EU at zero tariff and quota free.

Officials in Brussels say the EU is committed to working with Cambodian authorities to find a middle ground. The Asian Vision Institute (AVI), in its mission to promote inclusive and sustainable societies, wholeheartedly supports the EU’s commitment to finding a positive outcome.

Cambodia is home to one of the younger work forces in the world. Some 800,000 women and men work in the garment, footwear and luggage industries. Garment export contributes to about 40% of Cambodia’s GDP. The EU is the largest market for Cambodian textile products, accounting for about 46%.

If the EBA is revoked, some 250,000 workers are expected to be out of a job. Manufacturers speak of making do and of improving productivity in the absence of the tariff deal, but they have little or no room to maneuver.

Without the EBA deal, it is estimated that European retail prices for goods made in Cambodia will rise by about 12 percent. There has long been a mutually beneficial relationship between Cambodia and the EU.

The government of Cambodia says its sovereignty will not be compromised in exchange for aid or preferential treatment. The EU, for its part, seeks to be accountable to its constituents as it strives to uphold the values it holds dear. The lines are clearly drawn and somewhere between the two lies room for tolerance, for flexibility and for the ingenuity that have allowed the EBA to evolve and to lift millions from poverty. Cambodia is grateful for the contribution made by the EU in poverty reduction.

In this regard, the Asian Vision Institute urges the EU to take an objective, holistic and humanitarian approach to its deliberations. A revocation will affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Cambodian workers and their families and the collateral damage on the economy is incalculable. At the very least, a withdrawal of the EBA will derail Cambodia’s efforts to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – goals which the EU has pledged to support, by assisting nations that embrace them.

Cambodia, as a bridging state in Southeast Asia, wishes to see a more active role and engagement of the EU in the region. Moreover, amidst rising uncertainties stemming from unilateralism and protectionism, Cambodia and the EU are compelled to cooperate closely to strengthen an open, inclusive, and rules-based multilateral system, particularly to enhance an ASEAN-EU partnership.

The Asian Vision Institute (AVI) is an independent think tank based in Cambodia.

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The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia calls the European Commission for sober second thought on “Everything But Arms” trade partnership withdrawal

The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia calls the European Commission for sober second thought on “Everything But Arms” trade partnership withdrawal

Canada NewsWire

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Sept. 24, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) says the withdrawal of the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) trade partnership between the European Union and Cambodia will be tantamount to sanctions that will jeopardize European investments, the European business community, European development initiatives and the livelihoods of Cambodian citizens.

The EBA arrangement allows EU members to import products from Cambodia (other than armaments) free of tariffs and quotas. The EU has warned that the scheme will be rescinded unless the Government of Cambodia steps up human and labour rights reforms.

Thanks to the financial support of the European Union and to our expanding membership, EuroCham has grown to become the most prominent and respected business association in Cambodia. We work diligently with the Government of Cambodia to strengthen the nation’s legal and regulatory framework, as we strive to enhance the commercial interests of European businesses. A withdrawal of the EBA will irreparably undermine our efforts and those of our members.  

In Cambodia, the European Union and European businesses have garnered much respect for leading by example in their defence of human and labour rights, equal access to opportunities and other priorities that are at the core of European values. In this area as well, great progress has been made. Acting to coerce might not achieve the desired change. It has been demonstrated that Cambodia is likely to receive support from competing powers when it is overtly confronted.

The European Union will further boost its influence and its reputation in Cambodia and in the greater region of Southeast Asia with an agreement that will preserve the EBA. Such an agreement must acknowledge the unique character of the political sphere in Cambodia, it must place the lives of working men and women at the forefront and it must take into account the investments of European businesses and the countless jobs that go with them.

In some 20 years, the EBA has already been a tool for change. Now is not the time to give up. EuroCham and its members have faced down many challenges and there are more to come. Let us tackle them together for the sake of peace and prosperity for all.

About EuroCham: The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) is the largest Western Business Association in the Kingdom, representing a growing number of companies each year – currently over 350.  EuroCham has a mandate to represent European businesses and entrepreneurs living and working in Cambodia in cooperation with the Royal Government, and to provide trade facilitation services aimed at increasing and enhancing European investment in Cambodia.

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New Research From Gowling WLG Shows Brexit Is Making the UK a Less Attractive Home for Biggest Global Firms

New Research From Gowling WLG Shows Brexit Is Making the UK a Less Attractive Home for Biggest Global Firms

Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands are top destinations for HQ moves

Canada NewsWire

LONDON, Sept. 19, 2019 /CNW/ — Almost one in four (23%) global businesses are open to relocating their headquarters (HQ), but uncertainty over Brexit is having a significant impact on the UK’s attractiveness as a home for big firms, according to new research from international law firm, Gowling WLG. Almost half (41%) said they wouldn’t currently consider a move to the UK post-Brexit, instead rating Germany, Ireland and Switzerland as the top destinations.

Gowling WLG report reveals the most favourable countries for global HQ relocations (PRNewsfoto/Gowling WLG)

With recent high profile HQ developments for Amazon, Unilever and Google hitting the headlines, the Gowling WLG report, HQ Sweet Spot: Where big businesses want to call home reveals the strategic plans for the most significant operations of more than 650 board level executives at large businesses across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

A startling 92% of those surveyed that are currently headquartered in the UK are weighing up the benefits of an overseas move – Ireland ranks as the most popular destination option for more than half (54%) of these firms, followed by Germany (33%), the Netherlands (31%) and Luxembourg (23%).

More than a third (35%) of global business leaders believe that post-Brexit, the UK will be a less favourable HQ location in the long-term. However, bosses in Brazil, Canada and the US are most upbeat about the enduring cachet of a UK business address and the most likely to consider relocating to Britain.

When asked to rank a broad range of features from availability of talent and digital infrastructure through to political and economic stability in their current location, business leaders in France, Singapore, Switzerland and Japan were the most satisfied and least likely to consider moving. Conversely, those in the UK, Canada and Brazil were the least satisfied with their current home and among the most likely to consider upping sticks. 

Commenting on the findings, Richard Bate, head of real estate at Gowling WLG, said:

“The UK patently remains a strong force in the market to attract the world’s biggest HQ relocations but our research shows that Brexit is leading global bosses to strongly consider other European alternatives.

“When asked what measures the UK could take to improve its attractiveness as an HQ location after Brexit, a clear message from bosses for policymakers emerged: reduce business regulation, improve access to talent, develop a more favourable tax regime and improve transport links.

“Our research also reveals the importance of the location basics, from sourcing suitable buildings to excellent digital and transport infrastructure. Indeed, many of our respondents favour destinations offering high quality real estate – an area where the UK excels.

“Against this backdrop, a swift resolution to the Brexit impasse and the right policy changes once we have finally exited the EU are essential to enable Britain to take a bigger slice of the HQ market, particularly among North American firms and those beyond Europe.”

Visit to download the full report.


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