Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GSP exemption pitched

GSP exemption pitched

Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak gives a presentation in Hong Kong on Monday at a generalised system of preferences forum. Photo supplied
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak gives a presentation in Hong Kong on Monday at a generalised system of preferences forum. Photo supplied

GSP exemption pitched

A roadshow to Hong Kong this week to pitch Cambodia’s newly received duty-free access on travel goods to the US market was successful, but manufacturers have yet to sign concrete deals to establish new production lines here, a delegate of the returning business mission said.

US ambassador to Cambodia William Heidt said the Cambodian delegation met nearly 20 international buyers and 20 travel-goods manufacturers during the two-day trip, including Li & Fung, a global supply company that manages top US and European Union brands.

He said that while investors showed interest, they would need to spend time studying Cambodia’s market potential before committing to any projects.

Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak led the delegation, which also included officials from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).

The investor presentation aimed at promoting Cambodia’s preferential treatment under the revised US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme that allows Cambodian-made travel goods such as luggage, backpacks and wallets to be imported duty-free by US buyers.

Heidt said three companies with factories in Cambodia had already responded to the opportunity by expanding their production lines – a move that could create an additional 5,000 local jobs. Another five companies “showed serious interest” following the Hong Kong presentation.

“I support Cambodia’s strategy very strongly,” Heidt said. “They are not sitting around and waiting, but actively looking to recruit investment.”

While Cambodia was one of just two countries in the Asia-Pacific region to be granted a tariff exemption on travel goods on July 1, US trade officials previously have said that scheme could be granted to neighbouring countries, especially as American buyers look to diversify away from mainland China.

Heidt said that the Cambodian delegation had invited the investors it met in Hong Kong to visit the Kingdom to explore the market potential in mid-November. “We are going to be getting a big delegation of from Hong Kong to come and visit Cambodia,” he said.

Cambodia’s share of the travel-products market remains small, but has grown impressively in the last five years. Total exports were just $240,000 in 2011, but topped $48 million last year.

However, GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng previously told the Post that Cambodia was well positioned to shift from the traditional garment sector to more higher-value added travel goods.

He said 15 manufacturers in Cambodia currently produce eligible travel goods, and estimated that the revised GSP scheme could push exports to $200 million annually, adding 100,000 new jobs.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where