AmCham slams ‘counterproductive’ US pressure on Cambodia
AmCham slams ‘counterproductive’ US pressure on Cambodia
14, Mar 2019 , 9:56 am        
ដោយ: ថ្មីៗ
The local American Chamber of Commerce has denounced anti-Cambodian trade legislation proposed by US Senators Ted Cruz and Chris Coons two months ago.

“We believe this approach to be counterproductive,” AmCham Cambodia said in a letter addressed to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives dated Wednesday.
The letter referred to the "Cambodia Trade Act of 2019" introduced on January 8 to “pressure the Royal Gvernment of Cambodia” for domestic political actions. 
The bill seeks a report within 90 days on whether Cambodia should continue to enjoy duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of America’s 1974 Trade Act.
AmCham Cambodia said the main impacts of GSP removal would be "felt by the factory workers and their families whose livelihoods depend on the trade supported by this preference."
At the same time, US businesses will "suffer from a perceived lack of stability in the Cambodian economy and a further degradation of the trade relationship.”
Politics seen undermining goodwill and progress
The letter said that Cambodia had realized the spirit of the Trade Act — to help poor countries use trade to expand their economies and reduce poverty.
Using a GSP review to send a political message unrelated to that spirit would "drastically decrease the goodwill and progress" the system had created.
"Cambodia’s compliance remains unchanged since GSP was first granted,” AmCham said, noting that labor rights and conditions had made "significant progress" over the past decade. Child labor is an "excellent example” with a "significant decrease” between 2013 and 2018.
America’s rivals would gain from legislation
"The act of referral by Congress is enough to cause serious disruption to business confidence, leading to real effects on the Cambodian worker. 
"A vacuum created in this commercial space would only further the interests of third party actors competing with America in the region,” the letter said. 
"We urge our lawmakers to carefully consider this step which would further distance our nations" and "weaken the regional strategic interests of Americans."
Signed by nine AmCham board members, the letter invited the senators and other interested US lawmakers "to visit Cambodia to allow us the opportunity to share the situation firsthand.”
Bill seen targeting travel goods sector
In a separate message to AmCham members Wednesday, the board said the bill involved trade preferences granted to Cambodia on US imports of travel goods. 
These are believed to account for around $400 million in bilateral trade, it said, noting estimates by the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) that a new travel goods factory opens every 15 days.
"While the direct consequences would fall on the travel goods industry,” the board said, "the Cambodian worker and the greater business community would also suffer.”

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