Cambodias garments and textiles exports grew 9% in the first quarter

Cambodia's garments and textiles exports grew 9% in the first quarter

Despite lapses in factory safety and ongoing labour unrest, Cambodian exports of garments and textiles grew 9% in the first three months of the year.

According to data from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), Cambodia exported US$1.17bn worth of garments and textiles between January and March this year, compared to $1.08bn in the same period a year ago.

The country exported $287.1m worth of garments and textiles in January, followed by $440.8m in February and $445.7m in March. 

During the first quarter, the US was the number one export market for Cambodian garments and textiles, reaching $461.6m. 

Cambodia exported $400.2m worth of garments and textiles to the European Union, followed by $95.2m to Canada and $77.7m to Japan. Meanwhile, the country exported $138.9m worth of garments and textiles to other markets. 

While Cambodia's garment industry has been the beneficiary of sourcing shifts from more expensive countries including China in recent years, it has also been shaken in recent months by lapses in factory safety and large-scale labour unrest.

Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co last month confirmed to just-style it has reduced its sourcing from Cambodian garment factories in a bid to "minimise supply-chain risk and ensure delivery" amid ongoing unrest in the country.

Cambodian trade unions are calling for the government to increase the minimum wage for the country's 500,000 garment workers from US$100 to $160 per month.