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9 Apr 2020

Sok Chan & Yeshi Dema, Khmer Times

Cambodia: European Branded Clothing Alliance requests EU to postpone withdrawing Cambodia's tariff preferences as Covid-19 pandemic causes a global challenge in the textile industry

"European companies ask EU to postpone EBA withdrawal", 9 April 2020

The European Branded Clothing Alliance has asked the European Union (EU) to postpone withdrawing tariff preferences granted to Cambodia under the EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) trade scheme.

In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, alliance president Ignacio Sierra Armas said the COVID-19 pandemic had “created challenges unprecedented in our globalised world.”

Closures of retail clothing stores for uncertain periods in a growing number of countries are “severely impacting… developments, jobs and growth,” he said.

... the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia said about 60 percent of its factories had been severely affected by cancelled orders of ready-made garment exports because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t clear what the monetary cost would be but it is expected to be significant and affect thousands of workers and their families.

“We do know that the bulk of these cancelled orders have come from both the US and EU markets, which represent 28 percent and 46 percent  of our export market respectively,” said Ken Loo, scretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers association of Cambodia.

... Sierra requested seven support measures from the EU and member countries “to enhance certainty and allow us to keep on supporting our employees in the EU, as well as the workers in the manufacturing countries.”

The measures include a request to the EU to “postpone the withdrawal of the EBA status of Cambodia because of the exceptional circumstances and already severely impacted global industry.”...

“The road to recovery will be lengthy,” Sierra warned...