Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Labour minister praises robust garment sector growth

Labour minister praises robust garment sector growth

Garment factory workers produce items of apparel at a warehouse in Kandal province last year.
Garment factory workers produce items of apparel at a warehouse in Kandal province last year. Heng Chivoan

Labour minister praises robust garment sector growth

Cambodia's minister of labour applauded the strong growth and employment levels for the garment and footwear sector yesterday, though industry representatives noted a slight slowdown due to increased competition from regional players.

Speaking at an event commemorating International Labour Day yesterday, Minister Ith Sam Heng said Cambodia’s garment sector growth remained healthy despite increased wages for workers.

According to Sam Heng, the sector created jobs for 750,000 workers and provided $2 billion in salaries annually with the minimum wage increasing by nearly 10 percent last year to $153 a month.

“With the combination of other additional benefits, each worker can get paid a total of about $170 per to $181 per month,” he said.

Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), said that the sector is still growing despite tougher competition, mainly from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“Some buyers are now ordering goods from those two countries, cutting down on some orders from us,” he said, adding that the value of exports in the first quarter of this year grew by 4 percent compared to same period in 2016.

“We are still able to survive, but the growth rate is at an average level with just single digit growth.”

According to Sou Ieng, GMAC consists of nearly 600 manufacturers with a total export value of $6.8 billion in 2016, a 9 percent increase compared to 2015. This was slightly lower than the 10 percent average annual growth over the past several years.

However, he added growth for the sector should begin to increase with the expansion of travel goods exports to the US that received duty-free privileges last July. Sou Ieng said that there are now 27 registered travel goods manufacturers in Cambodia.

“Some of them are building factories which will soon be operational,” he said. “The export value of Cambodian-made travel goods will increase noticeably in the near future.” The Garment industry continues to dominate Cambodia’s exports, accounting for over 10 percent of GDP.

Soeng Sophary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said yesterday that emerging competitors like Myanmar and Bangladesh pose a challenge for Cambodia, though it remains manageable.

She predicts the country will maintain the healthy growth for garments and footwear in the medium term, thanks to the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which benefited competitors like Vietnam.

“Whenever our products are able to be exported to markets with duty-free access, we will still be able to enjoy growth.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.