Cambodian garment chiefs on Tuesday called on the United States to increase its clothing quota as a reward for its work to improve conditions at its 250 clothing factories.

The plea comes as US trade bosses prepare draw up Cambodia’s 2003 quota and follows a series of mainly positive reports from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which has been monitoring the country’s garment plants.

The quota was raised six per cent last year and increased further by a nine per cent bonus. Cambodian clothing chiefs are now seeking a 14 per cent bonus this year.

However, the president of the Cambodian Garment Manufacturers, Van Sou Ieng, wants that bonus doubled to 18 per cent which he says will create scores of new jobs and attract millions of dollars of new investment.

Cambodia's clothing industry employs around 200,000 workers, most of them women, and produces apparel for leading global brands such as Gap and Polo.