Cambodia recently urged global buyers to raise investment in its garment and footwear sector and to introduce new technologies to help modernise the industry. Commerce ministry secretary of state Ok Bung told envoys of global clothing brands and unions recently that low productivity is resulting in lower ranking for the country in the global value chain. Representatives from companies, such as Inditex, Debenhams, Kmart-Australia, H&M, Next, C&A and Primark, and international union federation IndustriALL were present at the meeting.
Issues now hampering the garment sector include high production costs, low productivity and access to a limited number of markets, said Ken Loo, secretary general of Garments Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC). Frank Hoffer, executive director of non-profit organisation Action, Collaboration and Transformation (ACT), requested the ministry’s support to set up a workshop with buyers, unions, factory owners and government agencies to hear all sides and jointly prepare a strategy to guide development in the sector.
ACT is an initiative between international brands and retailers, manufacturers and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain.In 2016, Cambodia’s garment and footwear industry had 786 factories and a workforce of more than 700,000 people. The main export markets are the European Union, the United States, China, New Zealand and Japan.