GENEVA — Cambodia’s exports and economy are on a growth path, but they are built on unsteady ground and the country wants the U.S. to help make it more sturdy by giving it preferential trade status.
During a World Trade Organization review of Cambodia’s trade regime this month, Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh told delegates that improvement in Cambodia’s export markets in 2010 allowed economic growth to resume at around 6 percent, and estimated it will remain around that level for this year and edge up to 6.5 percent in 2012. But he admitted Cambodia’s export sector is vulnerable, as it depends on a few products and relies on only a few markets.
Apparel accounts for about 85 percent of Cambodia’s exports of goods, and a small number of buyers in North America account for roughly half of its apparel exports, he said.
A report by the WTO secretariat concluded that the outlook for Cambodia’s apparel exports “is clouded by structural changes in the market as well as lagging competitiveness.” Unit prices for Cambodian apparel continue to decrease, the WTO said, as a result of aggressive competition, particularly from China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. The competitiveness of Cambodia’s apparel sector is also weighed down by lower productivity, the unreliable supply and high cost of electricity, and high transportation costs.
According to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, total manufacturing cost is about 20 percent higher than in neighboring Vietnam, despite lower wages, with key factors being lower productivity, higher electricity costs and less developed infrastructure. However, the WTO report shows that Cambodia’s apparel exports in 2010 reached $2.9 billion, up from $2.3 billion a year earlier. The number of factories in operation totaled 262, up 19 from 2009, and employed 319,000 workers, an increase of 35,000 from 2009.
A big help for Cambodia to be more competitive, Prasidh said, would be for the U.S. to provide the same duty free and quota free access to apparel imports from the poor Asian nation as has been granted to similar goods from poor African nations under the African Growth & Opportunity Act. Prasidh said Cambodian apparel exporters have to pay U.S. tariffs of 15 to 25 percent, and noted Cambodia’s apparel industry suffers from this “unfair” two-tiered trade system.
He said Cambodia exported $3 billion in apparel, of which the majority went to the U.S. market, but stressed it paid $350 million in duties annually to U.S. customs, or the same amounts as paid by rich nations such as the U.K. and France, on export shipments of $60 billion. He also urged the U.S. to be more forthcoming in granting duty free and quota free status to most tariff lines. Cambodia would fight for an “early harvest” on the issue during the WTO ministerial conference to be held in Geneva in December, he said.
The WTO report also noted that foreign direct investment in manufacturing is largely concentrated in Cambodia’s apparel industry, with investors from China making up more than 90 percent of investment approvals in the past five years. More than 90 percent of apparel factories are foreign owned, with Taiwan accounting for a 35 percent share of the capital in the sector, China and Hong Kong 20 percent each, and South Korea 12 percent, the WTO said.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)