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Myanmar takes lessons from Cambodian garment sector

06
Apr '12
Myanmar has a lot to learn from Cambodia for developing its garment sector. This was underscored at a business-to-business (B2B) dialogue hosted by the ASEAN-EU Business Summit.

Both Myanmar and Cambodia lack domestic textile manufacturers who can supply the local apparel companies with raw materials, especially fabrics. This necessitates both the countries to depend on imports for almost all of their fabric needs for garment production, which increases the risks associated with logistics and currency fluctuations.

While 23 of Myanmar's around 100 garment manufacturing companies are foreign-owned, nearly 90 percent of units in Cambodia are owned by overseas entrepreneurs.

In spite of such similarities between both countries, Cambodian garment sector has grown manifold during the last decade, while Myanmar's garment sector has stagnated.

As per the figures of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), there are more than 500 garment manufacturing units in the Kingdom and new factories are coming up at an average of one in every ten days.

At the meet, the enormous progress made by Cambodia in the garment sector during the last one decade was cited as an example to be enumerated by Myanmar.

Myanmar exported apparels worth US$ 767.6 million in 2001, most of them to the US, while Cambodia exported around US$ 1.16 billion worth of garments during the same year.

However, owing to sanctions imposed by the US against Myanmar's military-led Government, the value of the country's clothing item exports declined by 60 percent by 2005. Meanwhile, Cambodia's garment exports rose by around 90 percent during the same period, according to GMAC figures.

By 2011, Myanmar's apparel exports bounced back to near-2001 levels due to growing trade with South Korea and Japan. But by this time, Cambodia's overall garment exports became 335 percent higher than its regional neighbour.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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