Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has asked the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and all other organizations endorsing the Call to Action to also endorse GMAC's appeal, to postpone Everything But Arms (EBA) withdrawal for Cambodia by one year. The priorities identified in the Call to Action and the ILO’s invitation for the consultation with GMAC include how to support manufacturers to survive the economic dislocation caused by the pandemic and how to protect the income support needs of workers in the sector.
Cambodia already has suffered some 400 factory suspensions and more than 150,000 job losses in the garment sector, with scores more factories and tens of thousands of additional workers at imminent risk. Since the Call to Action is mostly endorsed by European buyers and is being generously supported by the Government of Germany, the single and immediate concern GMAC raised during the consultation was the looming second blow that the apparel, travel goods and footwear sectors in Cambodia face on August 12, with the scheduled withdrawal of €1 billion in trade benefits under the European Union’s EBA trade program.
Hence, GMAC has asked ILO and all other organizations to also endorse GMAC’s appeal, already conveyed in early June to the European Commission and European Parliament, that given the unanticipated impact of COVID-19 on Cambodia the European Commission’s decision, made in early February before the impact of COVID-19, to withdraw certain EBA benefits effective August 12 be reassessed and postponed for one year.