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Travel, leather goods association made official

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The Cambodia Travel Goods and Leather Association (CTLA) was made official on August 6 to better support and represent an industry that has experienced extraordinary growth in the past few years. CCC

Travel, leather goods association made official

The Cambodia Travel Goods and Leather Association (CTLA) was made official on August 6 to better support and represent an industry that has experienced extraordinary growth in the past few years.

Presiding over the inauguration ceremony on August 6 in the capital, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An said that production and exports are by and large exhibiting “positive signs” across all sectors, with growth driving job creation, raising incomes for households, and stimulating the economy.

To develop export markets for Cambodian travel goods and leather products, manufacturers must carefully monitor and manage the quality of their offerings as well as their competitiveness on target markets, advised Sam An, one of the Kingdom’s 10 deputy prime ministers.

“Travel goods” is a designation that includes suitcases, backpacks, handbags, wallets and similar items.

Sam An said the CTLA will act as an intermediary between the government and the relevant domestic and foreign private institutions to serve the interests of its members and to accelerate growth in its industry.

She called for the active involvement of the association, its leaders and members in strengthening the travel goods and leather product sector, in addition to ensuring quality, competitiveness at international levels, and the sector’s contribution to the Cambodian economy.

Sam An underscored that the government has, in all manner of ways, incentivised and smoothed the way for the private sector as well as investors wishing to enter the Cambodian market. She largely credited the continuing rise in the value of the Kingdom’s exports to comprehensive peace, political stability and development on all fronts.

CTLA honorary president Ly Kunthai told The Post on August 7 that the export market for the Kingdom’s travel goods and leather products has seen a dramatic rebound after the Covid lull, with sales further picking up as the global travel scene reopens.

“Currently, the volumes of orders at factories is also increasing, which is due to a number of reasons, such as the upswing in the number of people travelling around the world after Covid-19 ebbed, more students enrolled for in-person learning, and growing family incomes,” he said.

He added that the main objectives of the CTLA is: to be the unified and focused voice for the industry; to support and develop strategies to draw in more buyers and investors; to work with the authorities to optimise production processes and elevate product quality levels; and to organise training courses for workers.

“With the growing global demand for travel goods and leather products and the establishment of this association, I expect the number of overseas orders and investment in Cambodia to swell even further, as aside from commanding a diverse skilled labour force, Cambodia also provides favourable investment laws,” Kunthai said.

He said there are currently “about 120” travel goods and leather product factories in Cambodia, invested by entities from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in the Greater China region, as well as other regional countries and territories.

Kunthai listed the US, EU, UK, Japan, South Korea and some regional countries and territories as major destination markets for Cambodian travel goods and leather products, and revealed that “the association is also planning to export to China, the world’s most populous market”.

Cambodia exported travel goods and leather products worth $802.65 million in the first half (H1) of 2022, climbing up by 59.48 per cent year-on-year from around $503.3 million, the CTLA reported, adding that the US and “European region” were the largest buyers.

In the same period, Cambodia’s international trade totalled $27.244 billion or 20.158 per cent more than the corresponding period last year, data from the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) show.

Of that, imports grew 11.913 per cent to $15.865 billion, while exports were valued at worth $11.379 billion, up 33.913 per cent. The Kingdom’s trade deficit for the first half narrowed by 21.009 per cent year-on-year to $4.486 billion.

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