Manufacturers in Cambodia can now export luggage, backpacks, wallets and other travel items to the U.S. without paying duties, U.S. Ambassador William Heidt announced at an event on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.
The changes to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, which went into effect on July 1, allow Cambodia and other specified developing countries to export travel items in addition to the roughly 5,000 other products currently eligible for duty-free export to the U.S., according to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to build a world-class industry from the ground up,” Mr. Heidt said at the Commerce Ministry, adding that he hoped manufacturers would take advantage of the benefits by improving working conditions and reducing their environmental impact.
Van Sou Ieng, chairman of Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said that about 15 factories were currently making such items, and more were likely to follow with the elimination of tariffs that previously ranged from 4.5 to 20 percent.
“I’m sure that more factories will come to Cambodia once they know about [the changes],” he said.