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Cambodia Reacts to Vietnam Joining WTO

Ok Bun, Ministry of Commerce's secretary of state, refutes reports that Cambodia's garment industries will be threatened after the World Trade Organization approves Vietnam membership.

"Vietnam's membership will not affect Cambodia's garment industries", Ok Bun said, adding that the government are taking necessary measures to prevent Vietnam from monopolizing the market.

Last week, WTO officially approved Vietnam to become its 150th member.

Based in Geneva, the organization aims to increase international trade by promoting lower trade barriers and provide a platform for trade negotiations for its members.

On Tuesday, Robert Taliercio, a prominent economist, told reporters that Vietnam would also compete with Cambodia for market space.

"Although there is no data yet on whether Vietnam's entry into the world Trade Organization this year will hurt Cambodia, it will be a significant challenge to the garment industry's competitiveness next year", said Robert Taliercio.

Meanwhile, president of Cambodia Free Trade Union of Workers says that Cambodia needs to improve its effort to tackle corruption for the industry to stay competitive.

“It’s not Vietnam’s membership in WTO that’s the problem, its Cambodia’s corruption that is threatening the garment industry”, Chea Mony said in an interview with VOA.

Currently, there are approximately 286 garment factories in Cambodia, and in 2005 alone, the industry export reached $2.2 billion.