Cambodia’s garment exports are expanding at five per cent. Similar growth is expected in coming years if certain issues hindering the industry are addressed. Issues now hampering the sector include: high production costs, low productivity and access to a limited number of markets. The minimum wage will be raised from January. So, factories hope for a change in productivity, a reduction in the cost of doing business and new policies to help investors.
Cambodia’s total export volume reached $9 billion during the first nine months of the year. Eighty per cent of that trade consisted of garments or footwear. In 2016, Cambodia’s garment and footwear industry had 786 factories and a workforce of more than 7,00,000 people. The main export markets for Cambodian garments are the EU, the US, China, New Zealand and Japan.
Cambodia wants international buyers to increase investment in the garment and footwear sector and introduce new technologies. The garment sector is burdened by low productivity brought about by outdated technology, which sinks a country into low positions within global value chains.
A workshop will be set up with buyers, unions, factory owners and government agencies to hear from all sides and collectively prepare a strategy to guide development in the sector.