The industry is dominated by clothing manufacturing that has grown explosively since the mid-1990s. The number of employees has increased from a few thousand to over 600,000 in 20 years. Although the industry’s growth slowed somewhat around the middle of the 2010s, Cambodia is one of the world’s largest textile exporters.
Cheap labor and few regulations for foreign investors have contributed to the rapid growth of the textile industry. The clothing factories are largely owned by companies from other East Asian countries. Cambodia has also attracted major manufacturers of sports goods, such as Puma and Adidas.
The textile industry was long favored by tariff-free agreements with the United States, but the agreement that governed this expired in 2005. The change turned out to be less than expected, mainly because the industry succeeded in increasing its efficiency. Cambodia can export duty-free, with the exception of weapons.
The slowdown in the growth rate in recent years is primarily due to increased competition internationally. The wage situation has risen in Cambodia and the costs of electricity and transport are relatively high.
In addition to the textile industry, there is also a food industry, the manufacture of beverages and tobacco, as well as a metal industry that produces machinery and car parts. The factories also make decks and household goods, as well as building materials such as cement and bricks.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Cambodia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
The industry contributes to almost a third of GDP and employs about a quarter of the formally employed workforce. Then the construction industry and the small mining industry are also included in the statistics. The construction industry benefits from an ongoing expansion of both infrastructure and hydropower.
Her Sens son is being promoted
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son Hun Manet is promoted to the ruling CPP’s permanent committee, which consists of 37 members and determines the political direction of the party and makes important political decisions. Hun Sens’s two other sons hold high positions within the party’s youth association and the intelligence service.
Power plant dust is inaugurated
Prime Minister Hun Sen inaugurates the Lower Sesan 2 hydroelectric plant at a tributary to the Mekong in northeastern Cambodia. It is one of a number of new power plants that are part of Cambodia’s large hydropower investment to increase electricity generation. Environmental experts have warned of negative environmental effects of the power plant initiative, as well as threatening the living conditions of the local population such as fishing. About 5,000 people have already been forced to relocate due to the construction of Lower Sesan 2. However, the government stresses that the affected people will get new houses and new cultivation land where they have been relocated. Lower Sesan 2 is co-owned by Cambodia, Vietnam and China during the first 40 years, after which it is wholly owned by Cambodia.
Red Khmer leaders are slain for genocide
Red Khmer head of state Khieu Samphan and chief ideologist Nuon Chea are sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide during the left-wing regime of the 1970s. This is the first time someone has been convicted of genocide carried out under the terrorist rule of the Red Khmer. Nuon Chea is convicted of genocide on the country’s Vietnamese population and the Muslim people’s group cham, while Khieu Samphan is found guilty of genocide on ethnic Vietnamese.
Kem Sokha is released to the castle
The dissolved opposition party CNRP’s imprisoned leader Kem Sokha is released on bail and returns to his residence in Phnom Penh pending trial. He is charged with treason.
No ministerial changes
The Parliament, which consists solely of CPP members, elects Hun Sen as prime minister and approves that the entire old government remains.
Hun Sen defends the election
Prime Minister Hun Sen writes on Facebook that “Cambodia decided the nation’s fate through a free and fair election”. The EU says that the Cambodian election lacks credibility while China sends sincere congratulations to the electoral victors.
Given election victory for CPP
The CPP government wins all 125 seats in the parliamentary elections. Cambodia thus becomes in practice a one-party state. The 20 other parties that are running are small and lacking influence. The dissolved CNRP calls for a boycott, but the authorities are giving sharp warnings to people who are considering following that call.
The electoral movement begins
A three-week electoral campaign begins. In a speech to his supporters, Hun Sen says his CPP government is a guarantor of continued peace, economic growth and annual wage increases for textile workers. The prime minister also promises better roads and schools in the countryside and lower electricity bills for Cambodians. Twenty political parties will stand for election on July 29, but with the opposition severely battered, Hun Sen and the CPP are expected to go against a grand victory.
Hun Sens son gets top job in the military
One of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s three sons, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, is being promoted to two high military posts, prompting judges to warn that Hun Sen is now trying to increase his family’s influence and establish a family dynasty. The other two sons, Hun Manit and Hun Many, are the head of a military intelligence service and a parliamentary member responsible for the CPP’s extensive youth movement.
US sanctions against general
The United States is sanctioning General Hing Bun Heang, head of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard force, which Washington is accusing of violating human rights. Cambodia condemns the sanctions and says the allegations against the general are baseless.
Last independent newspaper in crisis
Cambodia’s last independent newspaper Phnom Penh Post is sold to a Malaysian owner whose company has previously done public relations job for Prime Minister Hun Sen. Assessors fear that the newspaper’s independence is threatened. The suspicions are reinforced when the editor-in-chief is fired for approving an article on the front page sale. Several reporters resign in protest of the owner having put in the editorial work. In August 2017, the independent Cambodia Daily was forced to close due to high demands from the tax authorities.
The National Assembly is expanded
Cambodia’s electoral authority is expanding the number of seats in the parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly, from 123 to 125. The reason is that the population of Preah Sihanouk has grown so much that the province now gets three seats in the lower house instead of as before.
The United States is withdrawing some aid
The United States reduces aid to Cambodia by about $ 8 million. The amount withdrawn is marginal in relation to total US aid to the country. It is money that is not paid to government agencies such as the tax authorities and the military. The reduction is being made in protest of the Cambodian regime’s strike against political opposition, independent media and civil society. Humanitarian aid for, for example, healthcare and agricultural development will continue to be paid out, as this will have a greater impact directly on the lives of poor Cambodians.
Senate elections are held without opposition
Senate elections are conducted without any real opposition to the ruling CCP. Prior to the election, the rulers have virtually eliminated all resistance by strikes against the media, civil society and opposition. The largest opposition party CNRP has been dissolved by a court order (see November 2017) and its highest leader is being investigated for suspected treason. The election for the senate is indirect: 58 senators are appointed by local politicians, while the king and the lower house of parliament nominate two senators each. CCP holds about 95 percent of the local political positions. The turnout is reported to be just over 99 percent. CNRP founder Sam Rainsy describes the election as a “father”. Rainsy is in exile abroad.
Illegal to offend the king
Parliament makes it a criminal offense to insult the king of the country. Throwing away the monarch’s reputation can result in five years in prison and a fine of $ 2,500. In Thailand, a similar law on majesty crimes is often used to thwart opponents of the power elite around the royal house and the military.