Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cambodia looks to Japan as its next market for garment exports

By Puy Kea
Cambodia 's garment industry is now looking to Japan for its next targeted market after winning orders in the United States and European Union, a senior garment industry official said Monday. Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, told Kyodo News that Japan is the world's third largest garment importer. He said the United States, which buys about 70 percent of Cambodia's textile exports, has been hit by the economic slowdown and that has meant fewer purchase orders are coming to Cambodia. Data from the GMAC showed about 30 factories have been closed this year and some 20,000 workers have been laid off in Cambodia .
Still, at a summit of trade leaders from the world's poorest countries held in Cambodia 's northern province of Siem Reap on Nov. 21, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia 's garment sector has so far had no ''serious impact'' from the global financial crisis. But new markets are needed, and Van Sou Ieng led an industry delegation on a five-day visit to Japan through Sunday that resulted in a trade deal between the two countries. ''In a move to begin our trade exchanges with Japan , we will export 10,000 jackets and 100,000 pairs of shoes in early 2009,'' he said, adding, ''We hope Japan will make more purchase orders afterward.'' But, he said, it is clear Cambodia has to improve the quality of its products because Japan demands high quality in all imports. Cambodia 's industry, therefore, will dispatch garment entrepreneurs and union workers to Japan for study the quality needs firsthand.
According to government data, there are 319 garment factories employing 380,000 workers in Cambodia .
And garments are Cambodia 's biggest export earners, with exports last year worth $2.9 billion. According to Van Sou Ieng, Japan currently buys about 90 percent of its imported garments from China .
KyodoDecember 01, 2008