Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 21 – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated that Cambodia does not want Everything But Arms (EBA) withdrawn, yet she cannot trade national sovereignty with any assistances or preferential tariffs, addressing Thursday at the inauguration of a new building at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

“Losing market and losing EBA are different. EBA will be withdrawn when our economy grows. EBA is granted to only three among the 10 ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Myanmar is also threatened, so for us, we have prepared since March,” said the premier.

"We do not want to lose it [EBA], however, they want us to trade independence and laws with EBA and that we cannot accept. So we will pay them taxes,” Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed.

Prime Minister reassured his compatriots that at the end of the day, Cambodia could not avoid tax payment to EU markets when the kingdom economy reached a certain point that over qualified for preferential scheme.

"By 2025 or 2026, Cambodia will pay taxes to EU automatically given that Cambodia’s economy grows [to another status]", he added.

According to Prime Minister, the EU’s decision to impose taxes on Cambodian rice was following complaints from Italy and Spain, saying Cambodia and Myanmar rice imported into Europe are hurting European farmers.

“Tax imposed on Cambodian rice is not the issue of EBA, but through complaints submitted by Italy and Spain. Another case is that Europe has denied buying the Philippines and Indonesia's palm oil with the excuses that the two countries have deforested to grow coconut oil. In fact, Europe has found a way to produce such oil.”

The Royal Government of Cambodia’s budget law 2020 stated that kingdom has prepared a package of USD 170 million to cope with the uncertainties of trading partners.