Cambodia blasts EU move to consider lifting trade privileges over human, labor rights

Cambodia has issued a strong response to the EU’s announcement that it is beginning the process to withdraw preferential duty-free and quota-free status for imports from the Southeast Asian nation. Its Foreign Ministry called the decision an “extreme injustice” that ignored steps the government has taken to improve civil and political rights. It said on Tuesday it “is committed to continue enhancing” the democratic space, human rights and labor rights, AP reports. In announcing the measure on Monday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom charged Cambodia with “severe deficiencies when it comes to human rights and labor rights.” The EU’s action begins a six-month monitoring process, and the withdrawal of privileges could be decided upon in a year.