PHNOM PENH, (Xinhua) — Garment and footwear industry, Cambodia’s largest income earner, reported a 12.6 percent rise in exports in the first seven months of 2014, according to the data of the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.
The country exported apparel and footwear products worth 3.47 billion U.S. dollars during the January-July period this year, up 12.6 percent from 3.08 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the data said.
Products are mainly exported to European countries and the United States.
Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said, “The growth in the garment and footwear sector is still low because some international buyers have reduced their purchase orders following wage protests earlier this year.”
The sector comprises 960 factories with some 620,000 workers, according to the Ministry of Labor. It earned 5.5 billion U.S. dollars from exports last year, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s total exports.
Last week, trade union activists launched a campaign to demand a 177 U.S. dollars monthly minimum wage in the garment and footwear sector from the current 100 U.S. dollars.
Labor Minister Ith Samheng said factory employers could not afford to raise the minimum wage for the workers to the highest point in one time, and urged unionists to avoid any demand that was unacceptable.