The European Union’s decision to ramp up trade pressure on Cambodia has alarmed unions in its garment industry. Cambodia's biggest export market, the EU, warned this month that the Southeast Asian nation would lose special access to the world's largest trading bloc, in a punitive response to its move away from democracy.
The repercussions could devastate garment exports that account for about 40 percent of Cambodia's gross domestic product and industries such as sugar.
Cambodia's factories supply global brands, such as Gap Inc., Swedish fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz AB, and sportswear brands Nike, Puma and Adidas, among others. According to the EU data, the country, under its "Everything but Arms" (EBA) scheme exported goods worth 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion or 649 billion yen) last year.
However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, which represents 600 factories, remains optimistic about the situation as the threat of tariffs is still months away and would be the subject of a six-month EU review,