New strategy could take apparel sector ‘to the next level’

According to the Secretary General of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), Ken Loo, a recently launched development strategy could take the garment and related sectors “to the next level” and improve competitiveness on the global stage if all stakeholders are fully committed to its implementation. June 14.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance on March 21 launched the “Cambodia Garment, Footwear and Travel Goods [GTF] Sector Development Strategy 2022-2027” in the hope of setting common development goals to gain independence in the industry while ensuring sustainability and inclusiveness.

The overall vision of this strategy is to develop the Cambodian GTF sector by 2027 into a significantly more unique, competitive, value-added, resilient and environmentally sustainable industry that represents a pillar of economic diversification, a said Ministry Secretary of State Phan Phalla on March 21. formal strategy presentation and implementation meeting.

Loo told the Post that GMAC has been actively engaged in developing the industry by building skills and increasing value chains and investment flows, and has been “very involved” in developing strategy.

He said that tangible steps have been taken to achieve the objectives set out in the document regarding topics such as employability and upskilling, logistics and value chains, upstream and downstream.

investments and renewable energies. “If fully implemented, the strategy will surely make our industry more globally competitive.”

At the March 21 launch, Minister of Labor and Vocational Training Ith Samheng said the policy document will be a roadmap to “define a common vision, objectives, goals and strategic plans to manage and strengthen this sector in a ‘Cambodian context'”.

“This strategy will enable Cambodia to seize opportunities and respond to rapid changes in the regional and global architecture, aimed at transforming the sector into an environmentally sustainable, resilient and high value-added industry,” he said.

At the same event, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth noted that this is the first strategy that “boosts the growth of the garment sector both in the short and medium and long term. “.

During this period, “the apparel sector will continue to be a potential economic pillar by expanding and strengthening local industrial bases for exports and improving the regional and global value chain,” he said. declared.

Even before the launch of the strategy, exports of apparel, footwear, travel goods and other textile-related products were on a substantial growth trajectory, increasing by $627.8 million or 24.8% year-on-year to reach $3.155 billion in January-March, according to the General Department of Cambodia Customs and Excise (GDCE).

GMAC’s Loo said the United States was the biggest buyer during the period, accounting for about 43%. Although the GDCE did not break down the figures by category, Loo said exports of clothing and travel goods were up 20% and 48% year-on-year.

“Travel Goods” is a designation that includes suitcases, backpacks, handbags, wallets and similar items.

The 2021 JETRO Survey of Business Conditions of Japanese Companies Operating Overseas, released Dec. 7, said only 39 percent of respondents reported profits last year, citing high production costs.

Loo pointed out that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has driven up fuel prices, putting pressure on logistics costs, while the Covid-19 situation in Shanghai and elsewhere in China has also catalyzed major disruptions. of the supply chain.

Nonetheless, “there will be continued growth in the travel goods industry,” he said.

“As our minimum wage continues to rise and remains higher than our competitors, we need to improve and develop our workers to increase productivity and also move up the value chain.”

Michael O. Stutler