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BRUSSELS — The European Union (EU) has delivered a potential hammer blow to the garment industry in Cambodia by deciding to partially suspend the country's trade preferences because of systematic human rights violations.

Cambodia will lose about 20 per cent of the preferential rights it enjoys under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme that the EU offers to 48 of the world's poorest countries - the equivalent of €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in exports.

The EU is to replace zero duties with standard tariffs for certain garments and footwear, as well as all travel goods and sugar. The standard tariff for clothing is 12 per cent.

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