The Ministry of Commerce on Monday appealed to buyers of the Kingdom’s garment, footwear and travel products to honour all pending purchase agreements.
In an announcement signed by Minister Pan Sorasak, the ministry said Cambodia became the world’s first country to link trade with labour standards.
In 2001, the Kingdom partnered with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to launch the Better Factories Cambodia project which required all exporting garment factories to be subject to ILO monitoring to ensure compliance with national laws and international labour standards, it said.
“We are proud of this initiative and will continue to ensure that the labour and social rights of our workers are upheld while we rebuild a sustainable supply chain,” it said, noting the reverberating effects of the ongoing health crisis on the global supply chain.
“We appeal to our partners – garment, footwear and travel goods buyers sourcing from Cambodia – to stay committed to Cambodia and especially to our workers.
“We would like you to abide by your contracts and not to cancel orders that have been placed on goods that have already been produced or are currently in production.
“You have contributed to the social development of millions of Cambodians who are depending on these sectors for their livelihood,” it said.
On Friday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) along with nine other members of the Sustainable Textile of Asian Region network across six producing and exporting countries made a similar appeal.
They called on global brand companies, retailers and traders to be responsible in their purchasing decisions – to accept goods that have been delivered and to not retract orders or renegotiate their terms.
GMAC secretary-general Ken Loo said all stakeholders in the textile global value chains must come together and help one another to ensure that workers, businesses and the industry survives during these trying times.
He noted that a number of buyers have agreed to keep their orders but have requested extended payment terms such as 90-120 days after delivery.
“We seek your cooperation so that we can all uphold and honour our commitments to labour rights, social responsibilities, and to rebuild a sustainable supply chain. We ask that you honour the terms of the purchasing agreements for the orders that have already been placed.
“Fulfil your obligation and do not renegotiate the payment terms. Receive your goods and proceed with payment as agreed upon, for goods already produced as well as for goods currently in production.
“I am sure that if we all cooperate and work together, we will survive and become stronger. More importantly, our workers will also be able to survive and together we can rebuild our lives, our businesses and the industry,” he said.
Cambodia exported $9.325 billion worth of garment, footwear and travel goods last year, up 11 per cent from 2018, data from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation shows.
As of the end of last year, there were a total of 1,730 factories operating in the Kingdom. Of these, 1,069 are in the garment, textile, footwear and travel goods sectors – of which 823 produced garments and textiles, 114 travel goods and 132 footwear, the data shows.