French textile and garment association Evalliance yesterday signed an agreement with the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) to provide training for middle-management workers in the industry.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Phnom Penh, Van Sou Ieng, chairman of GMAC said the agreement aims to increase Cambodian garment factories’ value-added efficiencies by producing more sophisticated products, which the sector then hopes to export onto the EU nations.
“Cambodian factories are trying to move up from just sub-contracting, taking designs and fabrics from the buyer,” Ieng said.
Figures from GMAC show that Cambodia’s garment exports to the EU stood at $1.4 billion in 2012. That figure increased to $1.8 billion at the end of 2013.
According to the agreement, Evalliance will send experts from France’s fashion industry to provide design and style training to middle-management workers. The agreement also states that both parties will increase data and information sharing and develop new business-to-business communication streams.
Jean Francois Limantour, president of Evalliance, said that Cambodia had untapped potential to export larger quantities and higher valued garment products.
“First goal is to increase the export. The second one is to increase competitiveness of Cambodian textile and apparel industry noticeably by increasing its valued-added value, increasing quality and its creativity,” Limantour said, adding that the first training program is expected to begin in December.
Ken Ratha, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, welcomed the initiative and said the training should prompt more production of raw materials here in Cambodia.
“We are losing a lot of value-added to importation of raw materials into the industry. If we can develop garment products locally by using locally made materials, it will increase value-added significantly,” he said.
“There will be fabric and colouring factories. And we will be able to see our workers switching from labour intensive to becoming skilled labour,” Ratha added.