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Four textile factories in Cambodia may be forced to stand down operations due to raw material supply interruptions from China related to the Coronavirus outbreak, according to the country's Labour Ministry.
The Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programme has been extended for a further three years as the country prepares to find out this week if it will retain EU trade preferences.
After ongoing concerns over the deteriorating labour and human rights situation in Cambodia prompted a number of brands and retailers to again call on the government to set out steps to bring the country in line with international standards, garment manufacturers now say such a narrative puts workers at risk.
Cambodia and China completed their first round of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) last week in Beijing, which if passed, would benefit the country's textile and garment industry.
Cambodian garment factories are exploring options to automate and digitise operations in order to grow efficiencies and secure new business, according to fashion tech platform Zilingo, which recently showcased its offering at a conference hosted by the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC).
The number of footwear and garment factories registered for exports in Cambodia over 2019 jumped 24% compared with the year earlier, according to new data from the Ministry of Commerce.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has reportedly waived off concerns at pressure from the European Union (EU) to improve the country's human rights record or risk losing its preferential trade status.
Manufacturers employing more than 30,000 people have been helped to improve how they prevent and respond to sexual harassment thanks to an initiative between Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) and aid organisation CARE International.
A campaign group has criticised the UK for promising the Cambodian government that trade privileges will continue after Brexit – potentially undermining an ongoing probe by the EU that could remove the Southeast Asian country's trade benefits.
In a reversal of trends seen last month, the three Central American countries that are the largest suppliers of clothing to the US – Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras – saw a dramatic fall in shipments.