Phnom Penh (FN), Aug. 28 – Professor of Cambodia’s History and International Relations Diep Sophal said that the decision made by the European Union to partially suspend the EBA trade preferences from Cambodia was made at the request of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party.

At a roundtable discussion organised by the Royal Academy of Cambodia on “How has Cambodia prepared itself for today and tomorrow?” held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia on 28 August 2020, Sophal said that the European Union’s decision to temporarily withdraw EBA from Cambodia does not seriously affect Cambodian economy, but it hurts his emotion.

"Cutting EBA does not affect the Kingdom’s economy considering the size of our economy today, but it affects us emotionally. Why the EU follows the appeal of the criminals [former members od CNRP]. What the CNRP did aim to make our society anarchic, for instance the 2013 riot,” said Diep Sophal.

Director General of International Relations Institute of Cambodia Kin Phea echoed Sophal’s statement. Phea viewed the EU’s decision as “double standard”.

Kin Phea said that the European Union raised the issue of human rights in Cambodia, but overlooked the issue of human rights in Vietnam. They signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam, which has a lower human rights record compared to Cambodia.

"EBA cut is the implementation of double standards against Cambodia. Human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and justice are often cited as excuses to interfere in Cambodia's internal affairs and violate Cambodia's sovereignty. It can be said that the core values of the EU are human rights and democracy. However, the EU external trade team proudly came to Vietnam to sign the FTA in June of 2019, while Cambodia was undergoing the process for possible EBA withdrawal,” said Kin Phea.