Cambodia’s GFT exports jump 20.69 percent

Jun 11th at 08:25
11-06-2024 08:25:57+07:00

Cambodia’s GFT exports jump 20.69 percent

The exports of garments, footwear and travel goods (GFT) rose by 20.69 percent in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period last year, earning the Kingdom $4.89 billion, according to the trade data released by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) yesterday.


The GFT exports started making a turnaround this year after declining continuously for nearly 18 months since mid-2022. This has brought a big relief for the Cambodian government which was providing monetary support for the workers in the sector who lost jobs following factory closures or suspension of work.

The Cambodian economy depends heavily on the GFT sector for not just exports but also for employing nearly one million people. About 48 percent of Cambodia’s total export earnings of $10 billion in the January to May 2024 period came from GFT goods.

According to the latest trade data, all segments under the GFT sector performed well in the January to May period of 2024, raising their exports, compared to the same period last year.

Accordingly, the exports of knitted apparel articles and clothing accessories earned $2.18 billion, registering a growth of 17.9 percent, compared to January-May 2023. Non-knitted apparel articles brought in $1.24 billion with a growth of 32.2 percent year-on-year.

Footwear exports earned $615 million in the first five months this year, an increase of 10.1 percent year-on-year, and articles of leather and travel goods another $762 million with a growth of 19.4 percent over the same period.

Other made-up textile articles earned $87 million from January to May 2024, registering a growth of 38.8 percent, compared to the same period last year.

In May 2024 alone, the GFT exports earned the country $1.19 billion, a rise of 31.84 percent, compared to May 2023.

Ken Loo, the Secretary General of the Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC), told Khmer Times recently that the sector is on the path of recovery as global demand is rising. “We appeared to have hit the rock bottom last year,” he said, indicating that the worst may have been over.

The GFT sector is one of the biggest employment generators in the country and has created nearly one million direct jobs, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The sector accounted for 11 percent of the economy and contributed around 50 percent of Cambodia’s real GDP growth as per its estimates in 2021.

It may be recalled that Cambodia’s GFT exports declined by 13.31 percent in 2023 amidst global challenges, from $12.80 billion earned in 2022 to $11.09 billion, leading to the suspension of work for many factory employees.

The decline in GFT goods exports that started in the latter half of 2022 continued last year too even as almost all other sectors registered growth in exports in 2023. The decline followed a drop in international demand due to various reasons including geo-political developments and inflationary pressures.

The Cambodian government in March 2023 started providing an allowance of $40 a month to each worker in the GFT sector whose labour contract was suspended following the slowdown in global demand. This was in addition to the $30 to be given to each suspended worker by the factory management.



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