Suppliers to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) agreed yesterday to pay about $145,000 in back wages and severance to about 160 workers at a Cambodian factory that closed in November, a labor activist involved in the deal said.
The agreement, which followed a two-day hunger strike, was reached at a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh that included representatives from Wal-Mart, H&M and their suppliers, Saramax Apparel Group Inc. and New Archid Garment Factory Ltd., said David Welsh, country director in Cambodia of Solidarity Center, a Washington-based international worker rights group. …
Cambodia is the eighth-largest apparel producer for the U.S. market, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Saramax will pay about $100,000 to the workers and New Archid will pay about $45,000, Welsh said. Workers will begin receiving the payments in the coming weeks, [David Welsh] said. …
The International Monetary Fund said it expects economic growth in Cambodia to reach its potential of 7.5 percent in the medium term.
The Washington-based IMF forecast growth of 6.7 percent this year, up from an estimated 6.5 percent in 2012, in its annual assessment of the country’s economy published today. …
Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), Canada’s largest insurer, has opened an office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, its first in the Southeast Asian nation.
Manulife has about 40 people in its Cambodian unit, the Toronto-based insurer said today in a statement. …
May 23rd, 2012, Bloomberg
Workers at a large Cambodian garment factory that makes clothes for Levi’s, Gap and other well-known international brands are striking for more pay and better working conditions.
More than 5,000 workers from the Singaporean-owned SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. failed to reach an agreement with their employers Tuesday to end an 11-day strike. …
President Hu Jintao today becomes the first Chinese head of state to visit Cambodia in 12 years, in a trip days before Southeast Asian leaders gather for talks that may touch on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Hu’s visit, which lasts until April 2, will deepen ties between Cambodia and China, its largest investor, the official Xinhua news agency reported March 27, citing the country’s ambassador in Phnom Penh, the capital. China appreciates Cambodia’s support on core interests, the report said, adding that China opposes outside interference on the South China Sea. …
Vietnam and the Philippines have pushed the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a common position regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where Exxon Mobil Corp. and Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) are searching for oil and gas. Cambodia holds the bloc’s rotating chairmanship. …
Investors in Cambodia, tied with Yemen as the world’s 164th-cleanest country for doing business, face risks in a planned stock market because of ineffective financial and legal systems, the country’s exiled opposition leader said.
“Among the little dragons of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is the least encouraging,” Sam Rainsy, 62, a former fund manager with Banque Paribas and ex-Cambodian finance minister, said in an interview in Paris. “The country needs a much longer period of preparation in terms of company accounts and corporate governance. Investors risk paying for nothing.”
Cambodia’s stock exchange may open as early as April, listing a state-run port, telecommunications operator, and manager of the capital’s water system, according to partner Korea Exchange Inc. Developing a capital market may lessen reliance on aid, equivalent to a tenth of the nation’s $11 billion economy, and the government says it has delayed starting the bourse until conditions are right.
“Frontier markets need not be perfect democracies to be lucrative investments,” said Douglas Clayton, chief executive officer of Leopard Capital, whose $34 million Leopard Cambodia Fund invests in closely held companies. “China and Vietnam are one-party states but at certain times those countries have been very good places to invest.”
Storms since September damaged 12.5 percent of paddies in Thailand, the world’s largest exporter, and crops in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said in a report dated Oct. 21. Floods and drought will cut U.S. output by 23 percent in the season that ends July 31, the government said Oct. 12. Prices have rallied 11 percent in the past two weeks.
“Thailand won’t be able to export as much, which will drive business to the U.S.,” Dennis DeLaughter, the owner of Progressive Farm Marketing Inc. in Edna, Texas, said in a telephone interview. “The U.S. doesn’t have very much rice yet, so it will pop up prices. We’re talking about some world trade shortages.”….
Blair Euteneuer and Luzi Ann Javier