UK’s DCTS could benefit Cambodia’s travel goods export, GMAC counters

The United Kingdom recently came out with a few more details of the proposed revamp of its Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP)—to be rolled out in early 2023—which reportedly suggests the revision could benefit more Cambodian garment and textile commodities, especially travel goods.

The claim was, however, countered by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).

While Cambodia’s Travel Goods and Leather Association (CTLA) hailed the latest details of the UK’s DCTS, in a recent letter, GMAC said the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) of the United Kingdom would offer no significant changes in preferences for Cambodia, although acknowledging that the scheme would be “a bit more liberal for travel goods”.

The UK government would retain the same three-tiered system as the previous scheme—general framework, enhanced framework and least developed country (LDC) framework, which it noted is based on the EU’s General, GSP+, and Everything But Arms (EBA) tiers, GMAC said.

The tiers of preferences within the DCTS will be renamed to standard preferences, enhanced preferences and comprehensive preferences, the last being specifically targeted towards LDCs, it said.

“There will still be duty-free, quota-free access for everything but arms for Cambodia, and all LDCs, under the comprehensive tier,” GMAC said.

“However, a few more products have been made duty-free under the enhanced tier. That means that around 85 per cent of UK tariff lines are now duty-free under the enhanced tier while around 80 per cent have reduced duties under the standard tier. Travel goods are duty-free under all tiers, but apparel is duty-free only under the enhanced and comprehensive tiers,” the trade body said.

“The criteria for [the enhanced tier] is now a simple economic vulnerability criterion as opposed to the human rights criteria in the EU GSP+ scheme. That means almost all non-LDCs are now part of the enhanced tier—and thus have duty-free access for all apparel and travel goods,” the GMAC letter added.

Travel goods include suitcases, backpacks, handbags, wallets and similar items. Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)