The Ministry of Economy and Finance has said it will launch the Cambodia Garment, Footwear and Bags Sector Development Strategy 2022-2027 on March 21 to strengthen and support the sector in “the new context”.
According to a notice issued by the ministry on March 17, the launch will be held online and attended by minister Aun Pornmoniroth, as well as leaders and representatives from ministries, institutions, embassies, development partners, civil society, business associations and the private sector.
Pornmoniroth also doubles as one of the Kingdom’s 10 deputy prime ministers and chairman of the finance ministry’s Economic and Financial Policy Committee (EFPC).
Labelled by the government as a “necessity”, the six-year development strategy would define a common vision, objectives, directions and strategic approaches to guide the sector through the fast changing regional and global scenario, in line with “the Cambodian context” – now at a “two-way situation” confronted by challenges and opportunities, according to the notice.
Development visions for the sector entail a transformation into a more fundamental pillar for economic diversification, and a resilient, high-performance, highly competitive and environmentally sustainable industry with a focus on higher value-added products.
Speaking at the Public Forum on Macroeconomic Management and Budget Law 2022 on February 22, ministry secretary of state Phan Phalla described the garment sector as “an important mainstay” for Cambodia’s economy, and revealed that his ministry had been preparing the strategy since 2020.
Phalla voiced dissatisfaction with the size of the garment sector over the past 20 years, saying local goods have historically been relatively simple. To counter that, a number of approaches have been incorporated into the strategy to encourage better-quality and more valuable products, he said.
Cambodian Footwear Association president Ly Khun Thai believes that the strategy will draw new investors to the garment industry and motivate existing players, adding that the new Law on Investment and the Kingdom’s free trade agreements (FTA) would drive exports in the sector.
Data from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) reveal that exports of textile-related products amounted to $11.3896 billion in 2021, a $1.505 billion or 15.2 per cent jump from 2020.
Broken down by category, garments accounted for $8.017 billion, footwear made up $1.390 billion, travel goods were to the tune of $1.490 billion, and other categories clocked in at over $0.49 billion. “Travel goods” is a designation that includes suitcases, backpacks, handbags, wallets and similar items.
For reference, GMAC chairman Kong Sang revealed last week that Cambodian exports of garments, footwear and travel goods to the EU last year respectively amounted to $2.207 billion, $383 million and $93 million.