In some developing countries in Asia, clothing manufacturing is often one of the pillars of their domestic economy. According to the Wall Street Journal, with the global outbreak of the new crown epidemic, shops in North America and Europe, which are hardest hit by the epidemic, are generally closed. Major clothing brands have cancelled billions of dollars in orders. The clothes of the goods lost their sales.
Hundreds of thousands of garment workers may be unemployed, and nearly half of the new poor are in Southeast Asia
According to estimates by the World Trade Organization (WTO), garment exports account for about 85% of Bangladesh’s total exports, which has brought more than 4 million jobs to the country; in Cambodia, nearly 20% of the country’s households have members Work in the sewing industry. The exports of clothing, shoes, and travel backpacks account for 75% of the country’s total exports. In addition, Vietnam and India are also major exporters of apparel products.
In Cambodia, approximately 260 garment factories have stopped production. Among them is a garment factory called Gladpeer, which produces all kinds of garments for H&M, Carrefour and other companies. In April this year, the company fired more than 3,500 local workers in Cambodia. The company’s general manager Albert Tan said: “If there are no new orders, they have no choice but to close the door indefinitely. The buyer did not clearly indicate when there will be a substantial business return and the possibility of the factory reopening this year. It seems to be getting slimmer."
According to reports, as garment factories close in large numbers, hundreds of thousands of garment workers in Asia will be laid off or temporarily unemployed, most of them women. Although these workers have low wages, their income can be guaranteed, and they can get standard working meals, basic medical care and education, and can create basic conditions for their relatives to find higher-paying jobs.
In recent months, many garment factory workers have returned to their home villages. Having lost their source of income, they had to cut back on food and clothing and even borrow money to make ends meet. According to estimates by the Asian Development Bank, the economic growth rate of developing countries in Asia this year is only 0.1%, the lowest level in 60 years.
According to the World Bank's forecast, affected by the epidemic, the global poor population (living on less than US$1.9 a day) will increase by 71 trillion to 100 million this year. This is a strong rebound since 1998. About half of the newly added poverty population is mainly concentrated in Southeast Asia.
According to Berg's prediction, in the near future, European and American companies will turn more to "close investment" instead of continuing the "low-cost labor investment" policy. Berg said: "In the future, European and American companies will transfer their production companies to Eastern Europe, North Africa, Turkey and Mexico. This is mainly because it can shorten the time from order to delivery, while greatly improving flexibility and agility. European and American clothing Companies are rethinking that they have relied too much on production plants in the Far East."
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