The garment industry in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam and Cambodia, is facing a decline in orders from its key market, the United States, due to the impacts of high inflation. The industry, which employs millions of workers and is a major source of export revenue for the region, is struggling to cope with the weakening global demand and rising production costs.
The weakening of the dong currency has also added to the difficulties faced by some garment makers, as imports of their raw materials are more expensive. Vietnam’s dong currency has lost 8% against the dollar so far this year.
In Cambodia, garment workers have also suffered from the post-pandemic effects on their livelihoods and rights. Many garment workers in Cambodia and Bangladesh, many workers experienced job cuts, pay cuts, increased production targets, reduced social protection and harassment at work.
The brands need to urge and take responsibility for their supply chains and ensure fair wages and decent working conditions for workers.
The US is the largest export market for both Vietnam and Cambodia’s garment sectors, followed by the EU. The industry needs to adapt to the changing market conditions and diversify its products and markets to survive and recover from the crisis.