He issued the warning when addressing a meeting between Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) members and representatives of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party in Phnom Penh.
The meeting was held as part of Lao Party General Secretary and President Bounnhang Vorachith’s two-day official visit to Cambodia, which began on February 9.
The biggest challenge to Cambodia is the EU’s decision on the EBA that it will issue on February 12, Hun Sen said, adding that Cambodia is waiting to see whether the country will completely lose the trade preference scheme or lose some parts of it.
Cambodian goods accounted for 18 percent of all imports coming into the EU market under the EBA scheme last year. Cambodia’s exports to the EU under EBA, which included clothes and textile products, were worth about US$6 billion in 2018.
The EBA scheme allows Cambodian goods to enter the EU market 99 percent tariff-free. The loss of the EBA is predicted to cost Cambodia millions of dollars, along with risking the jobs of 800,000 people employed in the country’s garment and textile manufacturing sector.
Earlier, Hun Sen said Cambodia has also made alternative plans to continue trading with EU countries if the EBA is dropped.
Cambodian rice still has a high demand in the EU’s market, even after being taxed if the EU removes the EBA, he added.
Cambodia exported 300,000 tonnes of rice to the EU last year.