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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     5 January 2011

Garment production still lags in Cambodia

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Garment and textile exports rose more than 20 percent year on year for the first 11 months of 2010 compared with the same period last year, but the industry is still lagging behind 2008 levels, Ministry of Commerce data showed Tuesday.

An industry official said that if garment employees had not held strikes during the year, export levels would have probably surpassed 2008 levels.

"The global economy has recovered so our economy will follow because we mostly export to the US [market], which is 65 percent of our total exports," Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers of Cambodia, said.

Garment exports rose 20.15 percent to a total US$2.82 billion for January through November last year, up from 2009's $2.347 billion total for the comparable period, official figures from the MoC's CamControl showed.

A country breakdown of the figures showed exports to the United States increased 16.73 percent to $1.641 billion from $1.405 billion on 2009's comparable period, while shipments to the European Union went up 18.46 percent to $702.8 million from $593.2 million.

Exports to other foreign markets also rose by about 34 percent to $443.95 million from $331.49 million.

Ken Loo predicted the total 12-month figure for 2010 garment exports could reach about $3 billion, which is still below 2008. MoC figures showed total garment exports for 2008 were $3.158 billion.

He said about 20 new garment factories opened in 2010, but he did not have the exact number of factories that closed.

Cambodia's preferential tax treatment for exports to the European market recently introduced would further boost exports for 2011.

"I noticed that last year, exports into the EU market sharply rose, even though Greece's crisis impacted some countries," he said.

"This year our exports will get even better because we can export more into European market with duty free," but he declined to predict what the growth rate for the year might be.

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