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March 21, 2022

New Cambodia MoU to strengthen EU apparel sourcing

The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham Cambodia) and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) have inked an agreement to strengthen their ties and better support European brands sourcing from the country.

By Beth Wright

EuroCham Cambodia and GMAC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will remain in force for an indefinite duration and defines a clear set of joint actions by the two associations for the coming years.

The MoU aims to foster closer cooperation between the two associations and their members and to support European garment companies and fashion brands in Cambodia, in addition to promoting Cambodia’s opportunities on the European stage both in Europe and in ASEAN.

As one of the first actions under the new cooperation, EuroCham will set up a public training programme with the Cambodian Garment Training Institute (CGTI) in Phnom Penh, focused on sustainable textile sourcing, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and compliance. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will fund the training initiative.

Other areas of cooperation include addressing sustainable production-related issues and environmental awareness in the production chain, exploring opportunities of Industry 4.0 and assisting European brands with responsible sourcing from Cambodia.

“EuroCham represents a good mix of large European fashion brands who play a crucial role in Cambodia’s garment and manufacturing industry, as well as local, innovative SMEs, factories, and peripheric businesses, such as auditing and logistic firms focused on the garment industry and its exports. There is thus a strong synergy across our membership base, which also makes us a powerhouse that is capable to drive the interests of the industry and its stakeholders forward,” says Tassilo Brinzer, chairman of EuroCham Cambodia.

“Embracing new initiatives such as supply chain due diligence legislation in the European Union will of course be crucial to leverage export opportunities. We are glad that GMAC, as the main industry organisation, is our companion on this important journey. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation and to add a European perspective to the wider Cambodian garment, footwear and apparel industry.”

Kong Sang, chairman of GMAC, adds: “Cambodia and the European Union have been main trading partners. The success and exponential export growth of our industry can be attributed in large part to the preferential market access of the European Union granted under the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme. It’s important to continue to maximise the economic benefit through more growth potential. The MoU signed today is an invaluable partnership to further strengthen the industry’s competitiveness through capacity building in many areas and joint advocacy to influence relevant policies.”

The signing of the MoU follows the recent founding by EuroCham of its ‘Garment and Manufacturing’ sectorial committee and anticipates the upcoming release of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s new five-year development strategy for the garment, footwear and travel goods industry.

With US$11.38bn export value in 2021, of which a large share continues to go to Europe, Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector remain the pinnacle of the Cambodian economy, GMAC and EuroCham Cambodia says, adding they are dedicated to supporting the continued growth of the industry in a
responsible manner.

Cambodia saw the biggest drop in market share of US apparel imports in 2021, with its share 13.30% to 4.22% from 4.87% in 2020, according to import data from the US Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).

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