Cambodian apparel and footwear sector groups and the EU’s business chamber in Cambodia have appealed to the European Union to postpone its partial suspension of duty-free trade with Cambodia due to the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on Cambodia’s economy.
A joint letter on June 2 from the Garment Manufactures Association of Cambodia (GMAC), Cambodia Footwear Association (CFA) and the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) said the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Cambodian apparel, footwear and travel goods manufacturers and workers. In the letter, the groups request a 12-month delay to the EU’s suspension of its ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) tariff breaks, which were due to be suspended on August 12. The suspensions would affect 20 percent of apparel imports, 30 percent of footwear imports, and all travel goods imports.
Some 256 Cambodian garment and footwear factories have halted operations, the letter says, with most of the country’s remaining factories operating at reduced capacity. It goes on to say that more than 130,000 garment workers have lost their jobs, a number that is likely to continue to rise.