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PM pays attention to textile industry troubles
05
May '08
Increased competition from China and Vietnam is arousing concerns for Cambodia and this was made evident when Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister called for a meeting of textile workers and manufacturers of the country on May 1.

Being Labor's Day, it was an apt occasion to discuss about issues that have caused anxiety among workers of the textile sector. The Prime Minister agreed to the fact that if the textile factories across the country fail to operate successfully, it is the workers who will have the larger share of misfortune.

Challenges posted by China and Vietnam are driving away some of the most promising investors of Cambodia and factories are therefore bound to get affected. Workers will therefore have to forget about an increase in wages because it will be impossible for a collapsing industry to take this extra burden.

Despite such adverse conditions, Mr Hun Sen urged factory owners to consider the maximum increase of wages for their workers. He also advised both employees and employers to respect labor laws and settle any dispute peacefully. The former voiced their demand for having a labor court to deal with their complaints.

Looking back at the statistics of 2007, the garment industry grew by only 8.0 percent against a record of 20 percent achieved in previous years. This resulted in a loss of nearly half of the industry's orders.

Although Cambodia exports gems and jewelry, footwear and a host of other products, the garment sector is one of the leading sources of Cambodia's foreign exchange earnings and a turn down of US economy, its biggest market for textiles, has only aggravated the situation.

Employing some 350,000 people in around 300 factories, the competitiveness of apparel industry of Cambodia will be further eroded by the withdrawal of US restrictions against Chinese textile exports in 2009 and greater productivity of Vietnam.

For detailed export statistics click here

U.S. Census Bureau

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