Cambodian Garment Workers Struggle After EU Withdraws Trade Perks

The Cambodian government is shoring up its finances as the withdrawal of some European Union trade preferences leaves its mark on an economy already struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and an exodus of Western businesses.

Hardest hit is the $7 billion garment, textiles and footwear industry, where about 700,000 workers earn a basic $190 a month, including $7 for transportation and rent, producing for big name brands such as Levis Strauss, H&M, and Adidas, six days a week.

The government has allocated a $1.2 billion spending package to help offset losses from the partial withdrawal of trade preferences under the ‘Everything But Arms’ program — which provides duty- and quota-free access to the EU market for all products other than arms — that went into effect last month and the impact of the pandemic which has taken a heavy toll on a once-thriving industry.

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