Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Cambodia has unveiled several measures to support local manufacturers and exporters in case the European Union (EU) decides to temporarily strip trade preferences from the country, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency.

The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce issued a statement on February 12, saying that it has cancelled the Export Management Fee (EMF), meaning that local exporters are no longer required to pay for a certificate of origin (CO).

Furthermore, exporters are not required to apply for a CO if it is not required by authorities in the destination country.

Previously, according to a price table posted by the ministry, applying for a CO for garment products under 2,000 pieces or footwear under 200 pairs cost up to 23 USD.

The statement said the ministry has also pulled out the Cambodia Import Export Inspection and Fraud Repression (CamControl) unit from all border checkpoints to facilitate trade across the borders.

Ministries and institutions concerned have also worked to reduce production costs and transportation fees, as well as to slash electricity tariffs, the statement said, adding that these supporting measures will cause the state annual losses of millions of US dollars.

Earlier, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a Facebook post that the country has been able to stand on its own feet and must continue to move forward with hope and confidence.

He said the Government would also lower the fees on goods inspections and some other customs procedures.

On February 12 the EU began the 18-month process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia's duty-free trading access to the EU market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme, which unilaterally grants duty- and quota-free access to the world's least developed countries.

Cambodia is currently the sixth largest garment provider of the EU with some 700,000 Cambodian people working in the field.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia noted that the suspension of the EBA will increase tariffs by 12 percent in the garment sector and by 8-17 percent for footwear products. The loss of the EBA could cost Cambodia up to 700 million USD a year.–VNA