This article originally appeared on the New Republic.
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The Cambodian government has said it will use its legal authority to ban the importation of goods from the US in a move that could result in a loss of billions of dollars in US trade.
The move follows a US request to block the import of certain products under the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which govern imports of goods into the country.
Cambodia’s foreign minister, Phnom Penh Seng, told a news conference on Tuesday that Cambodia will “immediately suspend the export of the goods that were banned under the EAR”.
The importation ban would also affect some goods from Vietnam and China, which account for almost half of the country’s exports to the US.
The ban will also apply to products from Thailand and the Philippines, both of which are also involved in the trade dispute.
It will apply to items produced by the US-based manufacturer Caterpillar, and the US is one of Cambodia’s biggest exporters of goods to the United States.
The US has said the Cambodian import ban will be effective from August 1.
The government’s move is aimed at ensuring the safety of Cambodian citizens in the event of a border incident between Cambodia and the United Kingdom.
It also reflects concerns that the Cambodians could lose millions of dollars worth of exports to US firms that have investments in Cambodia.
Cambodia is one, at least, of two countries involved in a dispute over Cambodia’s trade with the US, with Cambodia seeking to export goods to countries including the US and the UK.
A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Phnom Pok said that the US has “deep concerns” about the export ban, and has asked the Cambodese government to explain why the ban will not apply to Cambodian goods.
“We will take the appropriate measures to ensure that the safety and welfare of US citizens and residents in Cambodia are not compromised,” the spokesperson said.
“Cambodia is a country of more than 500 million people, and this ban is not acceptable.”
US State Department spokesman David Sanger said the US was concerned about the impact of the ban, but added that the State Department was not “specifically seeking” to block Cambodian imports.
“There are some things we can’t do, but we’re not specifically seeking to block goods, we’re looking at what we can do,” he said.
Cambodia has been involved in trade disputes with the United Sates since 2009 over the Cambodias own treatment of Cambodians.
Cambodian officials have said the ban would not have a major impact on the countrys economy, as Cambodia imports more than $100 billion a year from the United State, according to the Washington Post.