The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the Cambodia Footwear Association (CFA) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) recently requested the European Commission (EC) to postpone its withdrawal of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme for 12 months.
The letter said the Covid-19 pandemic has halted production and slowed global demand to a crawl, delivering a devastating blow to Cambodia apparel, footwear and travel goods manufacturers and workers.
It said some 250 Cambodian apparel, footwear and travel goods factories have had to suspend operations and more than 130,000 workers in the sector, most of whom are women, have lost their jobs and this number is likely to rise sharply.
In the first quarter of the year, the letter said, many buyers cancelled orders after they were completed or while in process. It is estimated that the Cambodian apparel, footwear and travel goods sales in the second quarter of the year will likely fall by 50 to 60 per cent on a yearly basis.
GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng said that in this context the EC’s scheduled August 12 implementation of the decision to withdraw the tariff preference for 20 per cent of apparel imports, 30 per cent of footwear imports, and all travel goods imports from Cambodia would be a massive blow to the Kingdom.