Textile, Garment Training Program Begins

In hope of creating competitive, productive garment workers, both private and public sectors in Cambodia and Japan on Monday cooperatively launched a new training program for the fast-growing garment industry.

The Cambodia Garment Train­ing Center, where two Japanese experts will teach technical skills to workers, is expected to contribute to an expanding Cambo­dian textile market in Japan, officials said at the opening ceremony at the center near Phsar Thmei.

“The only way we can be more competitive in the world is stress value-added skills in our labor force,” said Sok Siphana, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, noting such skills will help to produce items for export to Japan, where expensive, high quality garment products are in demand.

“We have been focusing on the US and Europe, but Japan will be a new market for us, where we could ship exports much cheaper and faster. Next dimension in the garment industry is an expansion to Japan,” Sok Siphana said.

Textiles comprise one of the Cambodia’s major industries—textile exports were worth about $360 million last year. Three-fourths of the exports went to the US and most of the rest were exported to European countries, according to the Commerce Ministry. Because the US government began this year to limit the number of garments imported annually from Cambodia, the industry needs a new outlet.

The center in late October will launch four-week intensive training courses for Cambodian supervisor candidates from factories. In the next two years, a total of about 1,000 Cambodians are expected to learn sewing skills.

The center was made possible by a cooperation with two governments and their private sectors. The Japanese provide finance, equipment and experts; the Cambodians offer space and running costs. The agreement was made with the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1998.

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