WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the Cambodian Trade Act of 2019, which would require the administration to review the preferential trade treatment Cambodia receives under the General System of Preferences (GSP). The full bill text may be viewed here.
“America has invested in the political future of Cambodia by establishing reliable trade and commerce, as codified in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP),” Sen. Cruz said. “Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has exploited preferential treatment afforded to it by the United States and Europe. He has failed to meet basic labor rights standards, undermined the integrity of elections in Cambodia, and tilted toward China. The Cambodian Trade Act aims to hold him and his government accountable for this behavior, and reinforces steps our European partners are taking.”
“I question whether Cambodia should have preferential access to U.S. markets,” Sen. Coons said. “Countries that undermine democracy, ignore labor standards, disregard human rights, and fail to protect intellectual property should not enjoy special trade privileges. During his 34-year reign, Hun Sen has shown his disdain for the rule of law and basic freedoms in Cambodia. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill to reexamine Cambodia’s eligibility for benefits under the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference program to hold the Cambodian government to account.”
Sen. Cruz has long advocated for democracy and human rights in Cambodia. On October 23, 2017, Sen. Cruz wrote a letter to the Cambodian Embassy demanding the release of opposition leader Kem Sokha. On November 8, 2017, Sen. Cruz issued a release following Ambassador Bun Rong’s dismissive response. On February 9, 2018, Sen. Cruz joined the Cambodia Accountability and Return on Investment Act of 2018, which sanctioned Cambodian officials responsible for carrying out human rights abuses.