Blog: Leonie BarrieCambodia calling

Leonie Barrie | 10 February 2005

Cambodia’s decision to reject the sweatshop approach and enforce good working conditions in its garment industry seems to be paying off with socially responsible buyers like sports giants Adidas and Nike. Retailer Gap Inc is another that plans to continue to source here even though preferential trading privileges have ended – and yesterday said it would train 650 factory supervisors in seven Cambodian factories to improve labour standards and dispute resolution.

Participation in UN monitoring programs is also holding the interest of foreign buyers tempted by cheaper costs in China or India. The International Labor Organization has launched the ‘Better Factories Cambodia Project’ to boost fair labour standards with a web-based monitoring system and garment factory listings.

So all is rosy in the post-MFA world then? Well apparently not. The kingdom’s notorious corruption is a thorn in its side, and reform the legal system is key to raising investor confidence. And to cap it all, production costs are driven up by some of the highest bribes in the world.


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