Phnom Penh (VNA) - The Cambodian government has approved a request of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) and encouraged garment factories to produce all kinds of face masks, medical equipment, and protective clothing for both domestic consumption and export.

As masks, medical equipment, and protective clothing are being sought after by the world to help curb the COVID-19, the government supports and encourages factories to produce the aforementioned items, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s letter sent to GMAC president.

Spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training Heng Sour earlier said the export of garments and footwear is forecast to drop by 50-60 percent in the second quarter of this year due to the impact of the pandemic. 

The Q1 exports nosedived by 80 percent year-on-year when the COVID-19 broke out in the EU and US – the two largest markets of Cambodian garment products – in February, he said.

Over 180 apparel factories have now suspended operation, and another 60 are thought to be close to suspension, affecting lives of about 200,000 workers.

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, the Southeast Asian country is home to 1,099 factories operating in textiles, footwear and handbag industries./.