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Ministry calls for buyers' understanding amid lockdown

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Garment workers leave from a factory in Phnom Penh. File Photo Hean Rangsey

Ministry calls for buyers' understanding amid lockdown

A senior labour official urged buyers of Cambodian goods to be understanding and not penalise delays or divert orders to other countries, as the Kingdom's factories and enterprises face temporary closures and blockades imposed to fight the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

The government on April 26 extended the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town of Kandal province for another seven days from April 29 to May 5.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour told a press conference on the lockdown extension on April 28 that the ministry is working closely with unions, factory owners, the International Labour Organisation, Better Factories Cambodia and other relevant parties to appeal to buyers for their understanding.

"We appeal to the owners of various brands that have ordered from Cambodia that our supply has been disrupted due to blockade measures. We urges the brand owners or buyers not to impose fines on the factory or divert orders to other countries," he said.

He said that Cambodia will strive to accelerate its production as soon as possible after the Covid-19 situation eases.

"We, the government, workers and employees, are committed to working together to respect health rules and the administration set by the Royal Government to the utmost, so that we can restart production at all levels of the chain and be able to supply them [buyers] as fast as we can," Sour said.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on April 19 also urged buyers and stakeholders not to penalise its members for failing to honour pre-agreed delivery commitments during the ongoing lockdown measures.

“We would like to appeal for your understanding to facilitate and make arrangements to help accommodate this special situation. We all have to cooperate and obey the instructions of the Royal Government and join hands to combat the spread of Covid-19. We urge all of you not to punish our members for this situation that is beyond our control,” said GMAC.

Exports of the garment, footwear and travel goods industries dropped more than 10 per cent last year over 2019 and could face significant direct losses from extended closures.

Outbound shipments in these sectors registered $10.6 billion in 2019 and $9.5 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce's annual report.

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