The value of garment, textile and shoe exports from Cambodia increased $74.4 million in the first six months of this year compared with the first six months of 2004, Thon Virak, deputy director of the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department, said Friday.
Some observers had feared Cambodia’s garment industry would decline this year, following the end of the multi-fiber agreement with the US that finished at the close of 2004.
“We have seen that nine factories closed, but 30 factories opened,” Thon Virak said.
Commerce Ministry statistics obtained Friday show that the export value of garments, textiles and shoes increased to $906 million, from $832 million dollars in the first six months of 2004; an increase of 8.95 percent.
Garment, textile and shoe exports to the US reached $650 million between January and June 2005.
During the same period of 2004 that figure was $542 million, an increase of 19.6 percent, according to the figures.
But the value of exports to the EU declined from $223 million in the first six months of 2004, to $193 million in the first half of this year, the figures show.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said it is difficult to predict the sector’s future.
He added that an estimated 30,000 workers have lost their jobs since the end of the multi-fiber agreement, and that he believed workers are making less than they did last year.
The survival of the garment industry here depends on the US limiting imports from China, Chea Mony said.