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Cambodia Footwear Association appeals to EU again to postpone EBA withdrawal, says 80,000 jobs at risk

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A show factory conveyor in action. Dreamstime

Up to 40,000 employees in the footwear manufacturing sector have already been impacted in the first half of this year, a direct impact from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which shows no signs of respite.

In addition, with the ongoing health crisis and dwindling demands, a further 40,000 employees in the industry are at risk of losing their job.

This was revealed by the Cambodia Footwear Association (CFA) in a statement posted on its Facebook page and addressed to the EU, calling on the European Union to delay withdrawal of the trade privileges provided under the Everything but Arms (EbA) which the EU has threatened to withdraw unfairly over alleged human rights issues.

However, while targeting Cambodia for punitive punishment while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the economy and the country’s export mainstays, garments and footwear, the EU appears determined to follow through with its threat for action this August while at the same time giving Vietnam, a totally socialist country with an even worse rights and political record, complete Free Trade status, showing the EU’s total disparity and prejudice.

The CFA said “Based on existing order volumes for the second half of 2020, even before August 12 EbA partial withdrawal takes effect, 70 percent of member factories are preparing for further reductions in employment or a complete suspension of production.

“Most of the remaining 30 percent have already reduced and have forecast production only at already reduced levels. If the pandemic gets under control, maybe we can expect a gradual recovery beginning in the summer of 2021, after the inventory built up from this year’s collapse in demand, works its way through the market. However, if there is no early vaccine, or effective control of the virus remains elusive, we are not anticipating any upturn for the next two years,” said Vice Chairman of CFA, Tony Tung.

He added that the impact of the pandemic was entirely unknown and unanticipated at that time.

“This is the essential reason who we have continued to appeal for a postponement to the scheduled August 12 withdrawal. It seems that despite our best efforts and the dramatic decline in our industry, the European Commission has decided to ignore our plea and move forward with its decision,” Tung said.

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