The secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has predicted that the country's clothing industry will continue to grow exports to key target markets, despite the industrial unrest currently threatening production.

Speaking to just-style, Ken Loo stressed that the capacity of Cambodia's garment sector had continued to grow last year "due to the increase in [the] number of garment factories in Cambodia. In 2013, GMAC had a total of 130 new members," he said.

According to figures from Cambodia's ministry of commerce, the south-east Asian country's apparel exports hit US$5.53bn in 2013, up 20% from the US$4.61bn the year before.

The new investment had enabled the Cambodian industry to tap new markets, Loo added. And while GMAC does not set export targets and "as contract manufacturers we have no say on where we export our finished products", he was optimistic about 2014.

He told just-style: "I would expect growth to continue to come from the markets in which we have a comparative advantage - countries that provide trade preference to Cambodia for instance, the EU [European Union], Japan, Canada, China."

The commerce ministry said Cambodia's clothing exports to the US rose 7.6% last year, but by 28% to EUR2bn to the EU.

With additional reporting by Poorna Rodrigo.