Edlira Xhafa and Veasna Nuon

The Future of "Ethical Production" for Cambodia's Garment and Footwear Industry

This publication aims to determine who benefits from trade in the case of Cambodia and proposes policy recommendations to better distribute the benefits of trade.

This publication aims to determine who benefits from trade in the case of Cambodia. The authors examine how trade regimes have affected working conditions and socioeconomic development in Cambodia.

Cambodia is deeply integrated in the global economy and this has led to some positive effects: the garment and footwear industry have fueled the export-led growth of the country; poverty has been reduced and employment and wages have been increasing. Yet, inequality is still high in Cambodia, and the country ranks low in terms of the Human Development Index. In terms of workers’ rights, recently, widespread violations of labour standards have been reported. In addition, violations of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights are common.

Looking at the economy as a whole, without any substantial economic upgrading, investment in technology or diversification, Cambodia remains stuck at the end of the global value chain, vulnerable due to its strong export dependence. Even though foreign investments have been essential to build the strong garment and footwear industry, multinational companies (MNC) benefit from tax breaks and most of the profits do not remain in the country. Common references to price pressure by MNCs underline the global power asymmetries and imbalances in profit. 

Following this analysis, the authors conclude their findings with policy recommendations on how to create a better distribution of the benefits of trade and how to avoid the negative effects it has been having on workers and producing countries so far.

This study is part of a series of papers on trade and labour standards that have been published under the FES in Asia project “Core Labour Standards Plus” (CLS+).

Xhafa, Edlira; Nuon, Veasna

The future of "ethical production" for Cambodia's garment and footwear industry

What role for trade agreements with labour clauses?
Singapore, 2018

Download publication (1,3 MB PDF-File)

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia

7500A Beach Road
#12-320/321/322
The Plaza
Singapore 199591

+65 6297 6760
info(at)fes.asia

Contact

News

  • 24.06.2019 | Gender and social justice | News

    The brave new world of work holds particular opportunities and challenges for women

    Ageing populations, technology advancements, climate change and the rise of non-standard jobs complicate further the grim outlook of the labour market...

    more information

  • 21.06.2019 | Event, News

    Women and the future of work in Asia – a new FES project

    Researchers and labour activists from nine Asian countries are to assemble in Indonesia to explore the question how women’s perspectives can be...

    more information

  • 14.06.2019 | Gender and social justice | News

    Domestic workers can organize anywhere

    In Asia the main priority for domestic workers is still to be recognized as workers.

    more information

back to top