The Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Dr Ith Sam Heng, said the export of textiles, garments, footwear and travel products and bags is the key sector of the Cambodian economy and remains the main sector. the country’s most important export, with growth averaging around 10% over the past 10 years.
Although Cambodia saw a slight decline in 2020, a good recovery was recorded in 2021, with exports in the first 10 months increasing significantly. Apparel exports totaled $6.538 billion, an increase of 6% over the previous year, Footwear exports were recorded at $1.113 billion, an increase of 20% while travel costs were valued at $1.179 billion, an increase of 49%.
Dr. Sam Heng said this during the 15th meeting of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) held yesterday at the Association’s premises in Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. The association has been in business for s 25 years, acting as a unified voice of investors in the apparel industry, protecting and promoting the rights and legitimate interests of all investors in the industry, and establishing a forum for consultation, social dialogues with all stakeholders on issues that have a potential impact on the global investment climate, aimed at creating an enabling environment for export growth and sustainable development.
The association has worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Commerce, the ministries concerned, and international labor organizations.
Dr. Sam Heng also commended and appreciated GMAC’s past work and cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training to successfully implement strategic rectangular policies such as the National Employment Policy, National Policy on technical and vocational education, the national policy on industrial development. and the national social protection policy framework.
GMAC has also responsibly participated in the implementation of the obligations set forth in the Labor Act, the Trade Unions Act and the Social Security Act for those who fall under the provisions of the Labor Act, the Labor Act on the minimum wage and other legal standards related to the field of employment.
The Minister recalled that the textile, clothing, footwear and travel goods and bags sectors had only a few factories, enterprises and workers when Cambodia started to open up its economy and receive investment since 1993. and continued to grow, especially since the year Cambodia achieved total peace thanks to the Prime Minister’s win-win policy, and then after 1999 when the Royal Government signed a trade agreement with the United States. , sealing exchanges with international labor standards.
By the end of 2021, the number of officially registered factories in the sector has grown to more than 1,200, providing systematic employment to nearly one million workers.
In 2021, the total export value of this sector is estimated at $10 billion, or about 63% of Cambodia’s total export value. The lives of workers also gradually improved with the attention of the royal government through the continuous increase in the minimum wage.
From 1997 to 2021, the royal government increased the minimum wage for workers 18 times, from $40 in 1997 to $194 this year. This year, bonuses, seniority and other benefits included, each worker can receive a salary of $211 to $222 per month.
In addition to the nearly 1 million workers who benefit directly, more than 2 million people benefit indirectly from this sector.
The GMAC AGM also held the election of the Cambodia Garment Manufacturers Association Executive Committee for the new term – 2022-2023. In this, the meeting voted in Oknha Kong Sang as President of Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) to replace Oknha Van Sou Ieng, who retired as President and was made Honorary President. by the executive committee.