Gov’t Panel To Oversee Garment Law

The Commerce Ministry has created a committee made up of government and industry officials to monitor labor conditions and adherence to new export quotas at garment factories.

According to a copy of the ministerial order, the 14-member committee will supervise visits to garment factories to inspect labor conditions and keep track of how much each factory is producing by examining transaction documents, payroll records and other papers.

Establishment of the committee fulfills parts of last month’s US-Cambodia textile treaty in which the US imposed quotas on exports of 12 types of garments.  Improving labor conditions is also one of provisions of the treaty.

The order, which took effect Feb 1, allows the Commerce Ministry to set up a system to regulate how much each factory can produce for export to the US in a year. Under the system, factories can export up to 80 percent of 1998’s volume to the US.

Under a “reward quota” system, factories can increase the amount they produce if they meet labor conditions, the order states.

The committee, chaired by Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, is scheduled to meet every Monday to settle issues relating to the export allocation.

The garment industry is Cambodia’s fastest-growing sector, with 138 factories in operation. One representative of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia expressed satisfaction with the new monitoring system.

“The establishment of the committee will be helpful to manage fair trade,” said Lee Thai Khit, vice-chairman of the association.


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