On February 12, 2020, the European Commission (EC) announced a partial suspension of Cambodia's preferential trade preferences with the European Union due to human rights and labor concerns. The suspension will affect certain garment and footwear products as well as all travel goods and sugar, however, bicycles and bicycle products will not be affected by the decision.
The EC decision followed a year-long review of Cambodia's Everything But Arms (EBA) which is one of the preferential trade arrangements under the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). It grants full duty-free, quota-free access into the EU market for all products except arms and ammunition for countries classified by the United Nations as Least Developed Countries. Access to these preferences comes with the obligation to respect human rights and labor rights.
The EU is Cambodia's largest trading partner, accounting for 45% of Cambodian exports in 2018. Exports to the EU from Cambodia reached €5.4 billion in 2018, more than double the €2.5 billion recorded in 2013. 95.7% of these exports entered the EU market under EBA tariff preferences (i.e. €5.2 billion out of the €5.4 billion in total).
Under the scheme, bicycle imports from Cambodia enjoy duty-free status giving it a 14% advantage over other countries. The arrangement has helped boost Cambodian bicycle exports to the EU, and the country now supplies more bikes to the EU than any other country. According to statistics from the EU database, Eurostat, EU countries imported 1,498,596 bicycles from Cambodia in 2019.