February 12, 2020, was reported broadly as “EBA judgment day” when the European Fee announced its decision to withdraw briefly some commerce preferences Cambodia had loved underneath the The whole lot However Arms deal between Phnom Penh and the European Union.
In impact, a supranational physique of 1 area is imposing its judgment over a sovereign state in one other area. How highly effective does that sound, when an extraterritorial judgment may be executed 1000’s kilometers away?
Cambodia is being punished based mostly on criticism of imperfections in its democratic progress and evolution as a nation. In actual fact many self-acclaimed midwives delivered a child democracy in Cambodia that falls repetitively because it learns to stroll.
The EC resolution creates the temptation to recall the historical past of the “white man’s burden” and “mission civilisatrice” (civilizing mission). The dialogue that was undertaken main as much as the choice was a difficult discourse of empathy, a continuing battle with mutually justified egos, and most of all questions of conscience. The will for independence which will trigger financial casualties, the ambition to be free of situations, the will to maneuver on towards the long run, the righteousness and sense of self-appreciation for noble and altruistic deeds supply hyperlinks with the causes of humanity.
There’s a Khmer saying, “Klean cha-gnanh, srolanh la-or,” actually translated as “Meals is sweet if you find yourself hungry; seeing magnificence if you find yourself in love.” On this sense, trying on the European Union’s commerce practices within the area, it’s noticed that the shady data of common values can typically be overruled by the sweetness and strengths of market capitalism. However imposing punishment underneath legal guidelines and values which can be supposed to guard individuals appears to show in any other case, as nobody actually is aware of the precise impacts of this punishment.
It’s like in William Shakespeare’s The Service provider of Venice the place Shylock calls for “a pound of flesh” for a due debt and claims that he has that proper underneath Venetian regulation:
“What judgment shall I dread, doing no flawed?….
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly purchased; ’tis mine and I’ll have it.
Should you deny me, fie upon your regulation!
There isn’t any power within the decrees of Venice.”
However Shylock can’t problem the pure human regulation that “a pound of flesh” can’t be taken with out shedding blood. The questions of universality of values and ideas additionally result in questions as to what these values and ideas are for by way of individuals’s livelihood.
How can we measure influence? Completely different state establishments present totally different ranges of influence evaluation, from minimal and manageable impacts claimed by the federal government to the economic fallout as claimed by some pessimistic critics and doomsday prophets.
Now, on the query of self-reliance. The interdependence that the world has benefited from may be each a power for improvement and a disruptive energy. On the constructive facet, interdependence magnifies mutual advantages; in damaging phrases, interdependence undermines self-reliance.
Cambodia depends on China for funding capital, manufacturing chains and materials provides. Cambodia depends on Europe for a marketplace for the completed merchandise constituted of these supplies. A disruption of China’s provides because of the latest coronavirus outbreak can lower brief supply to European markets. Likewise, restricted entry to the European market because of the partial EBA withdrawal can even lower brief factories’ buy orders.
Thus the query of over-reliance right here isn’t solely about China. Cambodia, which is in the midst of this manufacturing and provide chain, may be mentioned to be over-reliant each on China and the EU.
Other than the problem of range, questions may be contemplated in regards to the lack of competitiveness and vulnerabilities of Cambodian financial constructions, and possibly issues of complacency and sluggish reforms to regulate financial constructions and improve the nation’s competitiveness within the area.
Challenges for Cambodia’s financial system will likely be a number of and international in nature. China’s financial slowdown, a world disruption of provide chains because of the coronavirus, impacts from the partial EBA withdrawal, commerce wars, geopolitical rivalry between superpowers and regional powers, weak home competitiveness in contrast with different nations within the area, lack of range – these are among the many compounding elements which will decelerate Cambodia’s financial system.
Come what might, adaptive options will likely be devised together with market and supply-chain diversification, drastic inside reforms, financial stimulus packages, social security nets, and human capital improvement. The latest chain of occasions may present an distinctive alternative and driving power for Cambodia to push for a gradual financial structural shift from a low-skilled, labor-intensive progress mannequin towards a knowledge-based and skills-driven one.
Cambodia has braced itself for these challenges. Cambodia will transfer on. Cambodia will adapt and rework.