EU reiterates support for Cambodia’s LDC transition

EU reiterates support for Cambodia’s LDC transition

The European Union (EU) has reiterated its commitment to support Cambodia’s graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status, saying that it is ready to talk with the Cambodian side on the new trade scheme, Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

The commitment was made by Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, at a press conference on Wednesday at the international airport after her fruitful visit to Cambodia.

Urpilainen’s trip allowed her the opportunity to take stock of the EU’s long-standing cooperation with the Cambodian Government. She said Cambodia has come a long way in its development path, lifting millions of people out of poverty over the past two decades.

“Cambodia has now come to a critical juncture. The EU is committed to its partnership with Cambodia based on our values and human rights principles to support Cambodia during the delicate transition,” she said.

The Cambodia-EU total trade was worth $4.61 billion in 2023, a drop by nearly five percent from $4.85 billion in 2022, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Cambodia’s exports to the EU last year were worth $3.66 billion –a more than nine percent decrease from the $4.04 billion registered in 2022, read the report.

The Everything But Arms (EBA) trading scheme, granted to LDC countries, will no longer apply to Cambodia when the country upgrades from its current status, she said, citing that the EU is ready to talk with Cambodia over GSP Plus, which will help the Kingdom enjoy continued trade preferences.

“I think it is important that we work closely during the transition with the Cambodian government so that we can provide technical assistance and also help Cambodia to fulfill certain international obligations if it wants to benefit GSP+,” she said.

During a meeting with the visiting EU team at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Manet spoke highly of the EU’s support for Cambodia’s socio-economic development.

Regarding Cambodia’s LDC graduation, the premier expressed his gratitude to the EU for its important contributions and requested the latter to continue to support Cambodia.

Cambodia’s government wants to leave the LDC status by 2027 and has set a goal of transforming the country into an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.

As per the World Bank Country Lending Group guidelines, the lower-middle-income economies have a per capita income between $1,086 and $4,255 and the upper-middle-income economies between $4,256 and $13,205, while high-income economies have a per capita income of $13,206 or more.

Cambodia’s economy is projected to witness an upward swing in 2024 with an anticipated growth rate of 6.6 percent, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.


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