The TTP makes Vietnamese footwear rich: $525 million in investment from Taiwan. Cambodia is struggling

Taiwan’s footwear entrepreneurs are investing in Vietnam, while Cambodia risks becoming less competitive because of the increase in workers’ wages. Thanks to the TTP agreement signed at the beginning of this year, which allows free trade between 12 countries in the Pacific area, including the United States, in the first six months of this year, Taiwanese footwear manufacturers invested about $525 million (€463 million) in Vietnam. And in addition to the projects which have already been completed, there are 62 others, for an overall value of $455.39 million, to which the local authorities have given the green light. The most important operation was accomplished by the giant Pou Chen, which has dozens of factories in Vietnam, where it employs around 22,000 people, and which has opened a new branch in the southern part of the country, taking on thousands of workers. Other examples of expansion came from Feng Tay and Dong Dong Nai Phuong. These operations led to an increase in exports of footwear from Vietnam of 8.8% in the first half of 2016. While Vietnam is increasingly competitive, Cambodia risks losing its attractiveness due to an increase in wages, which have gone up from $66 a month in 2012 to $140 in 2015, while the unions are demanding they reach $179.60 in 2017. “We cannot ask for more because of our economic and political situation,” said Ath Thorn, president of one of the 17 Cambodian unions that protect the rights of workers employed in the clothing and footwear sector which, according to estimates, is made up of about a thousand factories and 600 thousand workers. (mv)


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