Cambodia is expected to attract more investors to the footwear industry with the setting up of the Cambodia Footwear Association (CFA).
During the launch of the CFA on Saturday, chairman Ly Khunthay said: “Looking at the tremendous growth of the footwear industry in Cambodia over the past few years, there had been a push for the establishment of an association to come together as one voice to support and promote the footwear industry.
“We will focus on the important tasks of improving market flow by maintaining a favourable trade environment and mobilising investors from all over the world to come and invest in the Cambodian market through trade deals and partnership dialogues,” he said.
Khunthay told The Post that he expected the Cambodian footwear industry to grow.
The CFA has joined the Confederation of International Footwear Associations and invited delegations of footwear manufacturers from 11 countries including Japan, India, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to attend its inauguration ceremony.
“We also brought them [investors] to visit footwear factories in Cambodia. We hope to attract them to invest and establish
factories after their visits,” he said.
There are currently 83 footwear factories and 70 footwear material suppliers registered in Cambodia, all of which are CFA members.
The sector employs about 130,000 workers, with factories based in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham, Takeo, Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces and Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town, said Khunthay.
“Our association represents all factories in Cambodia and provides them with information and coordination with relevant ministries, for example, holding brief seminars for employers on legal issues and leading delegations in footwear industry meetings overseas,” he said.
Investors in the Kingdom’s footwear industry come from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea, and its market is Europe, the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and Asean countries.
Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An, who attended the inauguration ceremony, called on the CFA and footwear companies to further their efforts to develop the industry and strengthen its competitiveness in international markets.
“I fully support the establishment of this association to act as a coordinated intermediary and to work with the government and private sector and contribute to the promotion and development of the
footwear production sector in Cambodia,” she said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that the association will help find investment partners and solve the challenges faced by footwear factories in the Kingdom.
“This association serves as a voice to negotiate with purchasers and to work with the International Labour Organisation [ILO] and the government. When faced with challenges, [the CFA] will help them [the footwear factories] deal with them,” he said.
In the first half of this year, footwear exports, which are produced as part of the US’ Generalised System of Preference and Most Favoured Nation programmes, increased by 14.61 per cent year-on-year to more than $563 million, according to a Ministry of Commerce report.
A report released by ILO in July showed that Cambodia was among the top 10 footwear producers, exporting more than $1 billion worth of footwear products last year – up 19 per cent from 2017.
The Kingdom’s main export markets for footwear are Europe (46 per cent), the US (17 per cent) and Japan (12 per cent).
Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports were valued at $10 billion last year – up 24 per cent from $8 billion in 2017 – said a 2018 report from the National Bank of Cambodia.