Cambodia’s Garment Industry: What the Future Holds

By Hor Hab, Economics Today

The golden age of Cambodia’s garment industry began in the 1990s, when Cambodia was given trade privileges from the United States and the European Union. Some of the privileges included a tariff-free treatment from the United States. In 1996, garment exports to the United States amounted to about US$ 2.4 million only.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) latest statistics, the exports of garment products totaled US$ 2.8 billion. The figures show a very small increase, only 1-percent increase, in exports between the fourth quarter 2006 and the fourth quarter 2007.

This growth slowdown has sparked worries among analysts and union leaders that the value of garment exports will decrease in 2008 and can affect the overall economy. The garment sector is the largest contributor to GDP and exports. It represented about 16 percent of GDP and more than 80 percent of exports in 2007.