Cambodia says EU rice tariffs hurting farmers
PHNOM PENH, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Cambodia said on Thursday
European Union tariffs on its rice had hurt half a million
farmers with a sharp decline of exports to the bloc, as it
reviews the Southeast Asian nation's duty-free trading access
over human rights concerns.
The EU in January imposed tariffs for three years on rice
from Cambodia and Myanmar, aiming to protect EU producers such
as Italy following a surge in imports from the two Asian
For the first six months after duties were imposed on
Cambodian rice, exports to the EU fell by half compared with the
same period last year, to 93,000 tonnes, according to the
Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
"This has been acutely felt by most of the 500,000 families
who eke out a living farming jasmine and fragrant long grain
rice, in spite of the fact that these varieties are
geographically specific and do not compete directly with
products grown in the EU," the CRF said in statement.
The EU in February also started an 18-month process that
could lead to the suspension of Cambodia's special Everything
But Arms (EBA) access, which allows for duty free access for all
exports to the EU, except arms, over it human rights record.
That process is separate from the rice tariffs.
The block takes more than a third of Cambodia's exports,
including garments, footwear and bicycles.
In April, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said China, his
closet ally, would help Cambodia if the EU withdrew the EBA.
China had also agreed to import 400,000 tonnes of Cambodian
rice, according to a posting on Hun Sen's Facebook page.
(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul
Editing by Robert Birsel)
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