Sending Office: Honorable Alan S. Lowenthal
COSPONSOR THE CAMBODIA TRADE ACT
Current House cosponsors: Lowenthal, Chabot, Yoho, Harder
Current Senate cosponsors: Cruz, Coons, Menendez
Please join Reps. Lowenthal and Chabot, co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Cambodia, in cosponsoring the Cambodia Trade Act (H.R. 1376). This bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the Senate as S. 34, led by Sens. Cruz and Coons.
Under Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Cambodian government has violated international labor standards, civil rights, and political rights.
Legislative tactics used by the regime to crackdown on political opposition and dissidents are the same tactics used to crack down on Cambodian unions. In 2016, the Hun Sen government passed the Trade Union Law, which governs how unions are formed, operated,
and dissolved. Among other things, the law restricts unions’ right to organize, and weakens collective bargaining rights. Further, the right to strike is no longer guaranteed but is now limited by elaborate procedural requirements. The law put in place strict
requirements on the registration of unions and for prospective union leaders, as well as substantial legal and financial barriers to organizing.
Cambodia received preferential status under the General System of Preferences (GSP) in 1997 which gives exemptions or reductions to tariffs on Cambodian exports to the United States. Currently Cambodia exports more than $180 million a year in goods to the
U.S. duty-free under the program. The GSP program requires that beneficiary states protect labor rights as a condition for preferential status, something that the Hun Sen government has patently failed to do. With this in mind, the Cambodia Trade Act would
require the United States to reconsider Cambodia’s preferential trade treatment under GSP.
The European Union, citing human rights violations by Hun Sen’s regime, has also begun a process to suspend their own preferential trading status granted to Cambodia.
In 1991, Cambodia signed the Paris Peace Accords, also called the Comprehensive Cambodian Peace Agreements, and it promised full multi-party democracy. However, Cambodia under Hun Sen has curtailed these fundamental freedoms. The U.S., as a signatory of
the agreement, must hold the Hun Sen regime accountable.
Trade and economic growth should not come at the price of democracy and freedom. Hun Sen’s regime has violated labor standards and human rights, as well as undermined the nation’s path toward democracy though attempts to abolish any political opposition
or dissent. In light of these troubling actions, Cambodia should not enjoy preferential trade privileges with the United States.
Please have your staff contact Ngoc Nguyen (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 5-7924 or by email to cosponsor H.R. 1376 or ask any questions.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0