PHNOM PENH, May 5 (Xinhua) -- At least 180 garment, footwear and travel goods factories in Cambodia have suspended their operations, affecting over 150,000 workers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported on Tuesday.
"About 180 factories have suspended their operations, with 60 more in the pipeline, which is wreaking havoc on the more than 150,000 workers temporarily suspended from work without clear indication of work resumption as of now and close to 200,000 soon," the Khmer Times reported, quoting an open letter from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on Monday.
"This will impact not only the workers but also the 2 million Cambodian family members who depend on them," the letter said.
It called on buyers to honor their payments for goods already received or are in transit to them.
"Cambodian manufacturers are already suffering from many cancellations and no new orders and cannot withstand any payment default," the letter said. "Payment terms can be discussed but no payment is not acceptable and we therefore appeal to your sense of decency to make good on your debt."
European Union and the United States are major market destinations for the kingdom's garment, footwear, and travel goods exports, and both have been severely affected by the global pandemic as their markets continue to close and residents are no longer spending money.
Cambodia's Labor Ministry Spokesman Heng Sour said last week that for the second quarter of this year, garment, footwear, and travel goods exports will expect to see a 50 to 60 percent decline from last year.
"Cambodia has yet to receive any orders from buyers for both May and June, as well as for the foreseeable future. We can conclude that exports of garments and footwear will be hit hard in the second quarter this year," he said.
The garment, footwear and travel goods industry is Cambodia's biggest export sector, employing about 750,000 people in approximately 1,100 factories and branches, according the Labor Ministry.
The sector earned gross revenue of 9.32 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 11 percent compared to the year before. Enditem