Cambodia’s garments, textiles and footwear exports have surged by 10 per cent annually over the last decade. Garments industry bounced back last year after a year of decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19. Members of Garment Manufacturers Association Cambodia (GMAC) hope to mark 2021 as a year of strong growth for the sector.
At the 15th Annual General Meeting of the association held recently, GMAC members reflected on the industry’s prospects in 2022. As per Khmer Times, the meeting was chaired by Oknha Van Sou Leng, Outgoing President of the association. Okhha Kong Song, Former Deputy Chairman, was elected new President.
Garments exports reach $10 billion in 2021
Cambodia’s garment exports formed 63 per cent of its total export value in 2021. In all, Cambodia exported garments worth $10 billion in 2021. It also provided employment to around one million people during the year.
Cambodia mainly exported knitted and non-knitted clothes. This was followed by footwear and travel products such as suitcases. Garment exports increased 6 per cent in the first 10 months of last year to $6.538 billion. Footwear exports increased 20 per cent to $1.113 billion while exports of travel products surged 40 per cent to $1.179 billion.
Trade recovery drives export growth in 2021
Several factors drove Cambodia’s garment sector performance in 2021 including a recovery in world trade and surge in COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which drove customers to Cambodia, says Ken Loo, Secretary-General, GMAC. Loo believes, Cambodia can continue its strong performance by exploring the new Law on Investment and shifting to higher quality products. The new law will help it attract more investors to the industry.
After 1999, Cambodia and the US signed a trade agreement to seal trade with international labor standards. This led to an increase in the number of officially registered factories to over 1,200 by the end of 2021. It also provided systematic employment to over one million and indirectly benefitting two million people.
Unified voice of investors
Formed 25 years ago GMAC acts as a unified voice of investors in Cambodia. It protects and promotes the legitimate rights and interests of all industry investors and provides them with a forum to discuss issues impacting potential investments in the sector. Along with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, GMAC has been instrumental in successfully implementing strategic rectangular policies such as the National Employment Policy, national policy on technical and vocational education, national policy on industrial development and national social protection policy framework.
The association has also successfully implemented all the obligations laid out in the Labor Law, the Law on Trade Unions and the Law on Social Security for those who fall under the provisions of the Labor Law, the Minimum Wage Law, and other legal standards related to the field of employment.