Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's Labour Ministry praises Trump's pledge to kill TPP

Cambodia's Labour Ministry praises Trump's pledge to kill TPP

Delegates hold up anti-TPP signs during a convention in Philadelphia this year. Brendan Smialowski/AFP
Delegates hold up anti-TPP signs during a convention in Philadelphia this year. Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Cambodia's Labour Ministry praises Trump's pledge to kill TPP

In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise win in the US presidential election on Wednesday, Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said yesterday that the president-elect’s campaign promise to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would restore the Cambodian garment sector’s competitiveness in the region.

The 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in February and, once ratified, was expected to liberalise trade among signatory nations – including the US, Japan, Canada, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan. However, Trump, during his presidential campaign, adopted a protectionist stance on trade deals, vowing to renegotiate or break existing agreements.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country – just a continuing rape of our country,” Trump said during a campaign stop in the state of Ohio in late June.

Welcoming Trump’s victory in the elections, Sour yesterday said that Trump would dismantle the TPP, neutralising any expected trade advantages for neighbouring Vietnam.

“If he [Trump] really eliminates the TPP, it will mean Cambodia can maintain its competitiveness in the garment sector and put neighbouring countries on an equal footing with us again,” he said.

Sour said the garment sector would face “problems” if it had to compete with Vietnam, which would enjoy tariff-free exports to the US under the TPP, while Cambodian exports would still be taxed.

Experts yesterday said the potential elimination of the TPP could provide the Kingdom some reprieve in the short term, but blamed structural issues within the sector for a drop in competitiveness.

Miguel Chanco, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s lead analyst for ASEAN, said the “death of the TPP” would not necessarily translate into an increase in Cambodian garment exports.

“With or without the TPP, the fact is that wages in the country’s garment industry are rising rapidly, diminishing its cost competitiveness vis-a-vis TPP hopefuls like Vietnam,” Chanco said, via email.

Additionally, the Kingdom would have to improve worker productivity and training, as well as the supporting infrastructure, to stem an exodus of investment away from the sector, said Ken Loo, spokesman for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia.

However, William Conklin, country director for the labour advocacy group Solidarity Center, said with or without TPP, Vietnam was moving ahead with bringing its garment sector to the stringent standards of the trade deal.

“They’re still going through with it,” he said. “The government needs to see what changes make sense here and then have people invest in it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided