The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 16 to foster closer cooperation between the two associations and their members, and to support European garment companies and fashion brands in the Kingdom.
The MoU comes just days after Cambodia and the EU renewed their commitment to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties despite the lingering economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MoU was signed at the premises of the Cambodian Garment Training Institute (CGTI), in Phnom Penh. As part of the agreement, EuroCham will set up a public training program with the CGTI, focusing on sustainable textile sourcing, occupational safety and health (OSH) and compliance.
EuroCham will also coordinate the support of the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) in the framework of the FABRIC project – a multi-annual program which aims to promote sustainability and social responsibility in the textile and textile industries. clothing in Asia – to fund the training initiative .
At the signing ceremony, GMAC Chairman Kong Sang noted that Cambodia and the EU were major trading partners, suggesting that the “success and exponential growth in exports” of the Cambodian clothing can be attributed in large part to the preferential market access granted to the bloc under the Everything But Arms (EBA) program.
Sang stressed the importance of updating and adapting strategies to unlock new growth potential and ensure economic benefits are maximized.
“The MoU signed today is an invaluable partnership to further strengthen industry competitiveness through capacity building in many areas. [set out in the deal] and joint advocacy to influence relevant policies.
“I am firmly convinced that the secretariats of our two institutions will jointly implement all the action plans to which we have committed to ensure their success,” he said.
EuroCham chairman Tassilo Brinzer said his chamber represents a “good mix” of major European fashion brands that play a “crucial role” in Cambodia’s garment and manufacturing industries, as well as small and local and innovative medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). factories and peripheral companies such as auditing and logistics firms focused on the garment industry and its exports.
“There is therefore a strong synergy between our members, which also makes us a powerhouse capable of advancing the interests of the industry and its stakeholders – towards more sustainable practices, greener production, circularity, higher skills and better quality products for the benefit of the Cambodian economy.
“The adoption of new initiatives such as supply chain due diligence legislation in the European Union will of course be crucial to take advantage of export opportunities. We are pleased that GMAC, as the industry’s leading organization, is our companion on this important journey.
“We look forward to fruitful cooperation and adding a European perspective to the entire Cambodian garment, footwear and apparel industry,” he said.
According to GMAC’s Sang, bilateral trade between Cambodia and the EU increased from $4.3 trillion in 2020 to $4.5 trillion last year.
He revealed that Cambodia’s exports of textile-related products to the EU in 2021 amounted to $2.683 billion, or around 60% of the total trade volume. Broken down by category, apparel, footwear and travel goods accounted for $2.207 billion, $383 million and $93 million respectively, he said.
“Travel Goods” is a designation that includes suitcases, backpacks, handbags, wallets and similar items.
Sang added: “Of course a lot of our success and export growth has come from the European Union’s trade preferences for [Cambodia] … as a least developed country.
“It is important for Cambodia to continue to maintain and enhance its competitiveness in order to derive maximum economic benefits from the potential of increased export growth.”