GROWING demand from European and Asian buyers has driven up Cambodia’s garment exports during the first half of 2011, according to experts.
Eased country of origin requirements for duty-free exports to the European Union, and emerging demand from Asian countries had sped the industry’s growth, said Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia official Cheat Khemera.
“The demand from European markets is picking up. Although some countries are facing economic problems, the demand is still there,” he said.
Garment exports increased by 32 percent in the first half of 2011 compared year on year, reaching US$1.858 billion, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol Department.
The United States was the largest export market during the first half, receiving garment exports worth $960 million, a 17 percent increase on the period last year. Exports to Europe increased 54 percent to $532 million during the period, while exports to other markets such as Canada, Japan and Korea increase by 49 percent to $366 million.
“Now, the US market is still narrow although their economy has recovered. But they are still trying to make improvements, so demand is not huge yet,” he said.
Ministry of Commerce Statistics Director Kong Putheara said some European countries and Asian markets were seen as strong destinations for the industry to grow in coming years. “People can start making more income after being hard hit by the crisis, so demand will follow, and we can enjoy exporting more,” he said.
Garment factory owners said they had seen increased interest from Europe.
Injae Garment Factory Managing Director Nam Shik-kang said the firm’s exports were up by about 20 percent in the first six months. “My factory is running exports to the USA, and also many European buyers are coming to find a production base in Cambodia,” he said.
Cheat Khemara highlighted the requirement for employers and employees to work towards building a favourable climate for the industry.