Plans to publicly disclose details of Cambodian garment factories' compliance with local labour law and international labour standards appear to be meeting with resistance from local manufacturers.

In particular, there are concerns that instead of triggering an improvement in factory conditions, the move may simply lead international buyers to withdraw business from individual companies. 

The International Labour Organization's (ILO) Better Factories Cambodia programme last month said that from January 2014 it would release information based on assessment reports. It hopes the move will "accelerate improvements across the garment sector."

However, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has urged factory operators to refuse entry to ILO monitors unless they are accompanied by government officials or carry a letter of authorisation.

Ken Loo, secretary general at GMAC, says the BFC's approach has "raised doubts within GMAC if we are being treated as a true partner and given the respect that we deserve."

While GMAC says it "fully supports the push for greater transparency within the garment industry," it is also angry that it was "not given ample time and opportunity to provide feedback before the launch."

A key stumbling block is "how to best deal with the negative implications that might arise," Loo says.

More than 450 Cambodian garment factories are registered with the BFC programme. The disclosures will include details about strikes and labour unions, as well as factory compliance on 21 critical issues - with more information released on those factories that have been monitored at least three times and have failed to comply.

"If buyers have this information and they decide to cancel an order or put a sanction on a factory in Cambodia, it will have many drawbacks: The factory loses, the worker loses, Cambodia loses," added Sat Samoth, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor and chairman of the Project Advisory Committee of BFC.