Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (Source: xinhua/VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 12 voiced his objection against interference in the country’s internal affairs.

“Cambodia cannot depend on foreign aid only and Cambodia will not exchange its independence and sovereignty for anything,” he affirmed in a Facebook post.

However, Cambodia wants to remain a good friend to other countries that truly wish to see its development, yet do not interfere in its internal affairs, he said.

The comments came a day after the European Union (EU) started an 18-month process that could lead to the temporary suspension of Cambodia’s preferential access to the EU market under the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme. This move is said to hammer the local garment and footwear industries which post a combined export value of up to 4 billion USD with the EU.

Cambodia is currently the sixth largest garment provider of the EU and about 700,000 Cambodians are working in this 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 to 17 percent for footwear products. The loss of the EBA could cost Cambodia up to 700 million USD a year. –VNA