Both exports and imports of garment materials rose more than 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year, reflecting a growth in Cambodia’s biggest industry.
Exports of garment and textile materials went up by 17.5 per cent to reach $1.34 billion from January to March this year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. Meanwhile, $753 million was spent on imports to supply production, an 18.3 per cent increase.
“We noticed an increase in orders from buyers during this period. At the same time, we also got an increase in numbers of new factories every month, and they need to import machinery and raw materials,” Cheat Khemara, the Garment Manufacturers’s Association of Cambodia’s (GMAC) senior officer, said yesterday.
The industry’s growth is due to rising minimum wage in other countries, especially China, which pushes more factories into Cambodia, he said. “We [GMAC] receive between 10 to 15 new factories or at least four or five new members every month.”
GMAC has a membership of nearly 500 garment and shoe factories, though the total number of factories is higher, as many have not joined the association.
Cambodia mostly imports the raw materials from Asia, especially China, Japan and South Korea, Khemara said. Meanwhile, Europe and the US are the main buyers of Cambodian-made apparel, he added.
The garment industry is Cambodia’s largest income earner, representing more than 80 percent of its exports.