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Friday, February 11, 2005

ILO to monitor Cambodia's garment factories for labour issues

10th February 2005

The UN's labour body International Labour Organisation announced Wednesday it was expanding its monitoring of Cambodian garment factories under a project aimed at improving labour standards in one of the world's poorest economies.

Currently, Cambodia exports garment to the tune of 40 percent of the economy, and faces overseas competition since expiration of textile quotas December 2004.

To gain access to foreign markets and survive in international markets, it has resorted to marketing itself as being a labour-friendly, socially responsible exporter.

The Garment Sector Project is being expanded and re-named the Better Factories Cambodia Project, with the International Labour Organisationand the Cambodian government working in partnership, the ILO said.

"Cambodia's improved compliance with international labour standards, monitored by an independent body, is offering the garment sector a competitive advantage that is lacking in other areas," ILO executive director Sally Paxton said in a statement.

"This gives consumers and companies the necessary confidence to choose Cambodian-made garments," she added.

Under the expanded project, a web-based reporting system will be launched and in the next six months information on most factories in Cambodia will be available on a website, the ILO said.

The United States, which linked its quotas for Cambodia's producers with improvements in labour standards, has been upbeat on the future of the sector, saying in December that its record should help it survive the post-MFA world.

However, US has also issued a curt warning to the country to tackle corruption and reform the legal system in order to raise investor confidence.

Today, up to 95 percent of Cambodia's 270,000 garment sector workers are women aged between 18 and 25.


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