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Covid-19 unlikely to cause further factory closures

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According to the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), exports of travel goods last year were worth $1.2 billion, twice as much as in 2018. Hong Menea

Covid-19 unlikely to cause further factory closures

The outbreak of Covid-19 is not likely to cause further closures of garment factories, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said on Wednesday.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the spread of the novel coronavirus is not causing garment factories to shut down as initially feared.

“Garment factories are not being impacted as much as we thought, but exports to Europe and the US will be affected if the outbreak continues,” he said.

Sour said 50 factories across the nation had previously suspended operations due to shortages of raw materials, but 17 of them are now back in action after China recently resumed the supply of raw materials.

The shortage of raw materials in the sector will likely end soon as China recovers from the virus, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Kaing Monika said recently.

Monika said last week, 13 ships arrived at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) carrying over 900 containers with materials for the garment and footwear industries.

“Shortages will end in coming months as the situation in China improves and factories there resume production. Of concern moving forward are exports to the US and the EU. These countries have been hit hard by Covid-19,” Monika said.

According to GMAC, exports of travel goods last year were worth $1.2 billion, twice as much as in 2018. GMAC hailed this as a remarkable achievement given that, in 2016, travel goods exports were worth just $50 million.

The US continues to be the largest buyer of Cambodian travel goods, accounting for about 80 per cent of all exports.

According to the Central Bank, Cambodia exported $14.63 billion worth of products last year, up 12.7 per cent compared to 2018. The Kingdom’s imports were valued at $22.34 billion, up 18.6 per cent during the same period.

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced two more cases of Covid-19 in Cambodia, bringing the total to 35.

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