Officials at the Ministry of Commerce met on Friday to draft a sub-decree for the promotion and development of the Cambodian silk sector, but industry experts say the draft does not do enough for the local producers who make raw materials used in the production of silk.
Pan Sorasak, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, told the Post yesterday that the sub-decree was not yet finalised but that it would not take long to complete.
“Friday’s meeting is the last meeting for preparing the sub-decree,” he said.
“It will be issued soon. We still need to send it to legal council. The sub-decree will control the processes of silk from its beginning to its final stage.”
Suon Prasith, national manager of the Enhancement Integrated Framework Program and deputy director of the Department for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Commerce, said that the sub-decree being prepared is bringing together policies and strategies for promoting the silk sector.
The main obstacle for the development of Cambodian silk, he said, is that most silks used in Cambodian products are imported from abroad, particularly from China; Cambodia imported between 400 and 500 tonnes of silk last year and produced just four or five tonnes.
The National Silk Board needs to fund the development of raw silk production in Cambodia, Prasith added.
A report by the International Trade Center found that the Cambodian weaving industry covered an estimated 20,000 silk weavers who contributed about $25 million annually to Cambodian’s GDP.
Seung Kimyonn, director of the Cambodian Craft Co-operation – an NGO working directly with silk weavers – said that while the sub-decree focused on promoting silk products, it did not cover Cambodian-produced silks.
He said frequently silk producers encounter difficulties as a result of silk imports from China and Vietnam. Vietnam suppliers sometimes provide lesser-quality silk when their high-quality product is out of stock, he added.
“When we were ordered the number one quality silk, [they] don’t always have it. So they provide a lesser quality,” Kimyonn said.
“They make it hard for us [because] when buyers order our products, they want the best quality, and [they want] the products within three months.
“When we ask for raw materials, we have to wait for two months for the highest quality. Do we wait? And how can we handle the buyers?”
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