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Chinese may prioritise Cambodia in meeting raw materials demand

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Employees of factory load a product to be exported in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi province. Xinhua

A ranking Chinese Chamber of Commerce official has revealed to Khmer Times that China may prioritise supply Cambodia for its immediate raw materials need to allow the factories here to continue operating.

Thousands of jobs are at risk and factories announced suspension because of a lack of raw materials and officials have estimated that up to 30,000 Cambodian garment workers may face job losses if the supply situation doesn’t improve rapidly this month.

Speaking to Khmer Times on conditions of anonymity, the official said: “China is ramping up production in all sectors 24/7 and will do her best to supply the materials Cambodia needs to avoid job losses, factory suspensions and other factors which may affect workers livelihood of their job security.

“Although there are many other more important priorities for China’s manufacturing sector, Cambodia will get priority since the effects are immediate and will be further worsened with the partial loss of EbA. As such it is important for factories to keep operating and producing and exporting to keep the labor force employed,” the official said.

On February 27, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian to look into the possibility of exporting raw materials by air and sea to the Kingdom in order to prevent job losses resulting from a suspension in the operation of garment factories.

The Garment Manufacturer’s Association of Cambodia said last month that more than 60 percent of raw materials used in garment and textile factories in the Kingdom are imported from China, with many suppliers temporarily halting production and affecting factories in the country.

Kaing Monika, Deputy Secretary-General of GMAC, said yesterday the temporary suspension of production has not yet started, but he foresees some suspensions to start from mid March until April.

According to the Labour ministry, about 7,000 workers will face lay offs if the delivery does not materialise. If the shortage drags on, about 90,000 workers will be suspended at the end of March.

“To prevent this, China may yet come to Cambodia’s rescue by prioritizing this small country ahead of others, except her own needs,” the official stressed.

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