Cambodia’s biggest employer is its garment industry. Garment manufacturing has been critical to the country’s economic growth over the past several years, and has helped lift workers out of poverty. But those workers now find themselves caught between their own government and the European Union.
In an open plea, a trade union representing 400,000 Cambodian workers in manufacturing industries, including the garment industry, asked the EU not to revoke the tariff-free access Cambodia currently enjoys to European markets. “We, the signatories of this statement, are among the more than 700,000 men and women who work for the country’s largest employment sector,” the letter from the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia (NACC) states. “We are most concerned about the prospect of losing our hard-earned livelihood.”