I am writing in to clarify certain reports in the press and media with regards to
the bonus 4% quota that was granted to Cambodia on 10 January 2005 by the Committee
for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).
The CITA announcement reads "... In recognition of the continuing efforts of
Cambodia to improve working conditions in the textile and apparel sector, including
internationally recognized core labor standards, through the application of Cambodian
labor law, and in response to the Second Labor Consultation of 2004, the US Government
is providing an increase of 4 percent of the base level quotas retroactively to 2004
adjusted limits. Goods exported on and after January 1, 2005 are not subject to textile
and apparel import limits..."
The press and media in Cambodia had mistakenly read this announcement to mean that
there will be quota limits for Cambodia in 2005. I wish to point out that this is
in fact wrong, and that it is stated clearly in the announcement, "Goods exported
on and after January 1, 2005 are not subject to textile and apparel import limits
Let me clarify further: under the trade agreement between the US and Cambodia signed
in 1999, Cambodia is eligible for bonus quotas dependent on our level of labor compliance
as assessed by officials from the US Government that conducts semi-annual labor consultation
in June and December of each year. In 2004, Cambodia was granted a bonus of 14 percent
out of a maximum possible 18 percent based on the Labor Consultation of December
2004. During their latest labor consultation in December 2004, we had requested the
US Government to award us the remaining 4 percent bonus so that we would get the
full 18 percent as allowed under the trade agreement. This request was granted on
10 January 2005 but is only applicable to our quota limits for 2004 and our limits
were adjusted retroactively. This increase in the bonus does not in any way affect
our exports for 2005, as goods exported from 1 January 2005 are NO LONGER subjected
to quota limitations.
The award of the remaining 4 percent bonus was a sign of support in recognition of
our efforts to improving working conditions and compliance with Cambodian labor law.
I hope that this clarifies the confusion amongst the public and the garment workers
to inform them categorically that Cambodia does not have quota limits for 2005 and
that the bonus quota awarded was for 2004.
- Ken Loo, Secretary-General, GMAC