Garment Exports Rise to More Than $5 Billion
By | December 27, 2013

Garment exports increased 22 percent to about $5.07 billion during the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period in 2012, according to figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce’s Camcontrol department.

The figures show that an increase in demand from the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.) has driven up garment exports from the country.

Neou Seiha, an independent economic analyst, credited the growth to the improvement of the U.S. and E.U. economies.

“the market situation of the E.U. and the U.S. is not really bad,” he said.

Van Sou Ieng, chairman of the garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said that the rising price of goods in China has forced buyers to look to other Asian countries, bolstering garment exports from Cambodia.

“The price of goods in China increases, while our Khmer workers have worked for more than five years and have experience in producing good products,” he said, adding that the garment industry is to expand by more than 25 percent this year.

“The buyers trust our industry because we have good job conditions reviewed by the [international Labor organization],” he said.

But Mr. Sou Ieng said garment exports to the U.S. have decreased slightly because of uncertainty around economic growth, while garment exports to the E.U. have been on the rise.

“Our exports to the U.S. have decreased from 60 percent to 50 percent. Garment exports to the E.U. rose from 30 percent to approximately 49 percent,” he said, adding that the current strikes seeking a higher minimum wage in the sector could spoil the growth.

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The government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville on Wednesday afternoon for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after luring them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip, police said.

About 50 fired factory workers protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal court Wednesday after two of the factory’s five union representatives were summoned for questioning following strikes in February.

The appointment of General Sok Phal to head the Interior Ministry’s newly formed department to monitor migrant workers has raised concerns over his close familial connection to a labor recruitment industry fraught with human rights abuses.

As military police with AK-47s descended on protesting garment workers during their nationwide strike on January 3, Sam Ravy, a manager at one of the many factories along Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, was on the phone with his mother-in-law.

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