Garment and footwear industry, Cambodia's largest income earner, saw a 16 percent increase in exports in the first six months of 2014, according to a commerce ministry's report on Sunday.
The country exported apparel and footwear products worth 2.92 billion U.S. dollars during the January-June period this year, up 16 percent from 2.51 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the report said.
The products are mainly exported to European countries and the United States.
The exports to Europe were valued at 1.14 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, up 32 percent and the exports to the U.S. dropped by 2 percent to 999 million U.S. dollars as the sales to other countries rose by 25 percent to 787 million U.S. dollars.
Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), said, "the garment and footwear sector is expected to see a 15 percent growth this year if production is not disrupted by any higher wage demanding protests for the rest of the year."
The sector comprises 960 factories with some 620,000 workers, according to the Ministry of Labor. It earned 5.5 billion U.S. dollars from exports last year, accounting for about 80 percent of the country's total exports.
Wage dispute remains hot since pro-opposition trade unions, which represent about 19 percent of the workers, still jointly demand the government to raise monthly minimum wages for workers to 160 U.S. dollars from the current 100 U.S. dollars.