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Cambodia: Garment factory workers worry about their future because of the potential EU's EBA withdrawal

Author: Kayleigh Long & Meta Kong, BBC, Published on: 14 December 2018

"'If the factory closes what could I afford to eat?'", 13 December 2018

Sao Run is worried that if the clothing factory where she works closes down she won't be able to feed herself and her son... With overtime she can earn up to $250 (£200) a month, but the future of the workshop and others like it in the country is now uncertain due to a continuing political dispute between the European Union (EU) and Cambodia.

Cambodia's garments manufacturing sector has boomed in recent years, ... This has led to about 200 international fashion brands now using more than 600 factories in the country, lured by both the country's low wages, and the fact they don't have to pay any duties when exporting to the EU...

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that the EU was launching a six-month review of the situation in Cambodia, and that unless Phnom Penh showed "clear and demonstrable improvements, this would lead to suspension of trade preferences" within 12 months...

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, says that the EU's threat has "heightened concerns" that international fashion firms could take their manufacturing business to other countries...

..., the Cambodian government may now be prepared to compromise, but whether it does enough remains to be seen... the country's parliament ... said it would review a ban on more than 100 members of the opposition CNRP, but ...

Sebastian Strangio, journalist and author of a book called Hun Sen's Cambodia, says the Cambodian government faces a real dilemma over the EU issue...

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Related companies: Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia