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Making globalisation just and fair: Minister Müller visits Asia

Minister Gerd Müller visiting a textile factory in Cambodia

Press release of 15.06.2016 |

The Textiles Partnership launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is proving effective – including in Cambodia. About a dozen textile factories in Cambodia are receiving advice from German experts on health and safety and labour rights issues. Activities in Cambodia follow the model of Bangladesh. A network of labour inspectors is to be set up, and there will be engagement with the textile industry in Cambodia to achieve further improvements on environmental and social standards.

German Development Minister Müller said, "We can see that our Textiles Partnership is bearing fruit in Cambodia, too – both with regard to health and safety and with regard to environmental and social standards. Minimum wages and accident and health insurance schemes mean that thousands of garment workers now have a decent job that enables them to feed their families and send their children to school. Through the Textiles Partnership, we are showing in a very practical way how development policy can help make globalisation just and fair. A pair of jeans that costs a purchasing department seven dollars in Cambodia and that we buy for 70 dollars at the store must give the garment worker a decent future. So I welcome the fact that the minimum wage has been increased, as a first step, from 100 to 140 dollars a month."

The textile sector has become one of Cambodia's most important industries. Many large German fashion brands source from Cambodia. Minister Müller said, "It is encouraging that most large German producers that source from Cambodia are members of the Textiles Partnership. Together with our local staff, they support factories in getting certification and implementing minimum standards in their production processes. This is a step ahead and can serve as a blueprint for other industries in our globalised world."

Minister Müller's visit to Cambodia focused not only on the work of the Textiles Partnership but also on the difficult political situation in the run-up to the elections. Some members of the opposition and of non-governmental organisations have been arrested. In a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, Müller voiced his concern about the arrests and called on the government to comply with the rule of law. In meetings with opposition leaders and prominent human rights defenders, the Minister underlined the importance of an active civil society for the country's development. He noted that Germany would continue to work closely with non-governmental organisations to help build a good future for Cambodia.

Apart from the focus on governance, Germany's development cooperation with Cambodia concentrates on the priority areas of health and rural development. Thanks to German support, some 17,000 households in remote areas of Cambodia were able to improve their income situation on a lasting basis. In joint projects, more than 50 schools as well as roads and infrastructure have been built for about one million people in rural areas. 

Following a stopover in Bangkok, Minister Müller will travel on to Myanmar, where he will meet with President U Htin Kyaw and Nobel Peace Laureate and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi.

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