To Persuade the United States of America to Reduce Import Taxes of Garment Products Might Face Difficulties – Tuesday 13.1.2009

Posted on 14 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“In a meeting about textile problems among ASEAN member countries, organized in Phnom Penh last week, the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia encouraged all garment exporting countries in the Southeast Asian region to join to persuade the United States of America to reduce import taxes. This encouragement was made because the garment industries of many exporting countries, including Cambodia, are being affected by the meltdown of the global economy.

“The Minister of Commerce of Cambodia, Mister Cham Prasidh, notorious for corruption, said that persuading the USA is crucial for exporting markets, and it might help to face the economic crisis. Mister Cham Prasidh added, ‘When there is such a global financial crisis, what you see is the decline of demands. How long can our garment sectors stand with this crisis? As we know, we all, more or less, depend on the market of the USA, and this is the reason why we have to continue to try to persuade the USA to be interested to provide us import facilities with reduced taxes or with no tax.’

“Moreover, Cham Prasidh, an in-law of [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, went on to say that the garment sector can continue progressing as long as all ASEAN member countries cooperate to expand markets in the region, before receiving better conditions from the USA. Also the deputy director of the Indonesian Textile Association expressed support with what was mentioned above, saying that this was probably a difficult time which needs an immediate solution among ASEAN member countries. Particularly, there must be an encouragement to cooperate in order to compete on the world markets while all countries are facing this financial crisis.

“It should be noted that from 1999 to 2004, the USA provided garment importing quotas to Cambodia without charging import tax. After the Multi-Fibre Arrangement [also known as the international Agreement on Textile and Clothing, 1974 to 2004] system ended, Cambodia has to pay 12.5% tax on average, making prices of garment products from Cambodia becoming more expensive, and it is difficult to compete with products from many other countries in Asia, such as China, Siam [Thailand], Yuon [Vietnam], Indonesia, and Bangladesh; most of these countries also depend on markets in the USA and in Europe.

“However, since many years, the garment sector became the biggest source of income for Cambodia, and it provides employment to more than 350,000 workers in around 400 factories countrywide. Since 2004, garment exports to world markets increased between 20% and 25% every year. Among the income from the export of garment products of US$2.7 billion in total in 2007, the USA absorbed products from Cambodia – especially garments – and the highest level was more than US$1.9 billion, compared to US$600 million for the export to markets in Europe, and US$146 million for the export to Canada.

“Nevertheless, the garment sector in Cambodia is being affected by the decline of garment demand on the US market, after this country, the most powerful country, faced a serious economic meltdown since 2008. The Minister of Commerce of Cambodia said that the garment export from Cambodia to international markets declined by 2% in 2008, so that the government expects that the USA will have policies to promote this sector again. But economists and other experts said that this expectation seems to be baseless.

“The president of a garment factory association in Cambodia recently said that when the economy falls down like this, the USA also needs to help itself. Now, Cambodia is worrying, because so far, around 60 factories have gradually closed and approximately 25,000 workers lost their employment. From April 2009 on, there are little buying orders, and prices have to be lower than before, making many factories to face serious losses.

“Civil society officials observing the garment sector in Cambodia assessed that in mid 2009, 20 more factories will finally close, because they cannot cover losses by bank loans which are also strongly restricted. In the meantime, a foreign economist said that the situation of the Cambodian garment sector might be out of trouble in at most one or two years, when the economy of the USA is expected to grow stronger again. This means that the decline of the garment sector in Cambodia has to wait until the economy of the USA grows strong again, while tens of thousands of Khmer workers of this sector loose their employment and incomes.

“Analysts criticized that corruption in the Ministry of Commerce, managed by Cham Prasidh, and in the Ministry of Labor, administered by Vong Soth, is also a reason making the garment sector in Cambodia face serious decline, because corruption in these two ministries encourages garment factory owners to pay much kickback while their businesses do not earn much profit. Therefore, in order to prevent that the garment sector continues to decline sharply, the Hun Sen government must take action to eliminate corruption urgently, so that factories owners do not decide to close their factories and one after the other leave Cambodia.”Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3664, 13.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #2, 13.1.2009

  • The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] Published 84 Cases of Human Rights Violations in the Fourth Quarter of 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1845, 13.1.2009

  • The Plan to Expand the Capacity of the VietTel Company Is Supported by Prime Minister Hun Sen [VietTel is a telecommunications company from Vietnam, and this company aims to help promote development in Cambodia, especially in education by providing Internet access to schools and by creating a foundation to help the government to alleviate poverty]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #322, 13.1.2009

  • The Leader and His Terrorism Partisans [of four people who were involved in the setting of explosive devices in Phnom Penh recently] Were Accused by the Court of Creating Illegal Armed Forces, and of Terrorism
  • Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng Said that Cambodia Is Not a Drug Producing Country
  • The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party Negotiate to Create an Alliance

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #181, 13.1.2009

  • More Than 60 People Protest in Front of the Provincial Primary Court to Ask for the Release of Mr. Hun Sengly from Jail [he was a representative of 415 families in Kos Krolor district in Battambang and was arrested in August 2008 regarding a land dispute]
  • The Indian Embassy Reacts to the Deaths of Three Indians [in a car accident in Dangkao district in Phnom Penh, and demands the government to take action against the driver who caused the accident – one day after the accident, he escaped from a private hospital and from his house in Phnom Penh]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva Received the Majority of Votes in By-Elections [his party and their allies won 20 of the 29 seats]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6550, 13.1.2009

  • A Farmer Couple Brought Their Children back from a Hospital [in Phnom Penh]; the Husband Died along the Road because of Pain [when he complained about strong pain , the taxi driver dropped him and his family along the road where he died – Kien Svay, Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3664, 13.1.2009

  • To Persuade the United States of America to Reduce Import Taxes of Garment Products Might Face Difficulties
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Prime Ministers Will Discuss Border Disputes in Hua Hin [in Thailand during the ASEAN Summit from 27 February to 1 March 2009 – according to the Bangkok Post]
  • Can the Japanese Aid [of around US$21 million, promised by Japan on 11 January 2009] Make the Hearings of Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Proceed Soon?
  • Result of the Investigation about Illegal Logging in the Kantuy Neak [Ratanakiri] Region Is Not Yet Revealed [four park rangers who were reported to be missing during a mission returned to the Vireakchey National Park, they were not missing, they were on a 15-day patrol in the park]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4793, 13.1.2009

  • Producers of the Opera “Where Elephants Weep” Apologize, as It Was Prevented to Be Shown in All Television Channels, Offensive Scenes Will Be Changed [after complaints by the Buddhist orders]
  • Motorbike Competing with a Truck Collided with Another Truck Coming from the Opposite Direction, Causing Three Deaths [Kompong Speu]

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Thursday, 21.8.2008: Hun Sen Government Is Weak, It Conducts Diplomatic Politics by Kneeling Down to Beg Siam to Withdraw Invading Troops from Cambodia

Posted on 22 August 2008. Filed under: Week 574 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 574


Apologies: The link to the Joint Communique and the attached map – see further down – had been broken. It is now fixed. Thanks to the alert from a reader.

“To clarify one’s position by kneeling down under the pressure of the diplomatic politics by Siam [Thailand] or to say that the Hun Sen government is defeated by the Siamese [Thai] diplomatic warfare regarding the incursion by Siamese troops to control the Preah Vihear Temple and the Ta Moan Temple regions – these are two prominent positions to describe the representatives of the Hun Sen government. Hor Namhong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Hun Sen government, promised Siam to revoke Cambodia’s complaint to the UN Security Council about the incursion by Siam into Cambodia, and the Hun Sen government also agreed to beg Siam, by withdrawing its troops unilaterally from the Preah Vihear Temple region, so that Siam also withdraws its troops from Khmer territory.

The press in Cambodia – the Khmer press and the international press alike – have not published (as far as we know – if we are wrong, please inform us) the extremely important Joint Communique, signed by the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of Royal Government of Cambodia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, on 18 June 2008. This was the last joint submission to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, which led to the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. The full document and the appended map [‘the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached’ to the Joint Communique] is here; (it is a big file of 1.3 MB). To read the Joint Communique and to see the attached map, you need to have the free Adobe Reader or a comparable software installed – you can download the Adobe Reader here.

We strongly recommend to have a look, especially also at the map with a tiny stretch of land in red, claimed as the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple.

This document is available internationally, it has been published various time in the Thai media. The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs signed this document, relating to national sovereignty and territory integrity, without asking the Thai parliament for a decision, led to a verdict by the Thai Constitutional Court, accusing him of overstepping is responsibilities, and thus violating the Thai constitution – so he had to resign.

This document – co-signed in the name of the Kingdom of Cambodia – is also the basis for much public opinion in Thailand about the Cambodian government. It is surprising – and important to note – that this document of high international value, is not, or not easily, available to the Khmer public.

It seems that many arguments in the Khmer press are either not aware of this document, or avoid to see it, because of its bewildering implications. To analyze the content of the document might lead to some different conclusions and arguments, different from what is nowadays in the press. We provide today some references to the Joint Communique and invite our readers to appraise the situation, comparing and relating it to the Joint Communique and the new Cambodian map.

We would, of course, be happy to see some such reactions in the Comments you may write – or in e-mail to myself, the editor of the Mirror, at mirror@gmx.org

“This information was made known after a two-day-meeting on 18 and 19 August 2008, and especially, after a high ranking delegation of the government of Cambodia, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hor Namhong, accompanied by senior representatives of the Minister of Interior of Cambodia, also came to visit the Siamese King at his palace in Hua Hin.

“Explaining that this is to express sympathy and friendship among good neighbors, between Cambodia and Thailand, and to avoid confrontation between Siamese troops invading and Khmer troops protecting its territory, Hor Namhong and the Siamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Tej Bunnang reported the same content about the results of these negotiations. Hor Namhong said that Cambodia agreed to withdraw a complaint against Siam’s incursion into the Preah Vihear Temple region to the UN Security Council; representatives of the Hun Sen government consider this to be a concession towards Siam so that they agree to withdraw also their troops from Cambodia.

“Moreover, Hor Namhong said also that in response to an order by Hun Sen, Cambodia agreed, on its side, to please Siam by promising to recall the Khmer troops from the Preah Vihear Temple region of Cambodia.

“Hor Namhong said, ‘We will withdraw all troops from the Contested Regions. We will withdraw also the complaint to the UN Security Council.’

“Cambodia filed a complaint to the UN Security Council to ask for intervention, asking to convene an urgent meeting, to solve the confrontation between Cambodian and Siamese troops, after Siam had invaded Khmer territory on 15 July 2008. However, the complaint of Cambodia to the UN Security Council was suspended by a phone call from the Siamese Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on 24 July 2008 to Mr. Hun Sen, requesting him to suspend this complaint (it seems to be a very interesting books), one day before the UN Security Council would have discussed it.

The Khmer press speaks, in general, in general terms, of the invasion into Khmer territory, without considering the declarations of the Cambodian representatives, especially also the new map presented by Cambodia – not bu Thailand! – with the Joint Communique, which says:

“1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription… of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached…

2….the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.”

On 15 July 2008, Thai troops moved into the “northern and western areas of the Temple” which were not claimed by Cambodia “at this stage” as part of the territory of the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple, listed as a World Heritage Site.

“Mr. Hor Namhong said also, ‘We will withdraw the troops unilaterally form the disputed regions to express the good will of Cambodia, to avoid a confrontation that might lead to armed conflict.’

“What is seen is that Siam has a landslide victory in its diplomatic warfare, hiding its military incursion into Cambodia, when the head diplomat Hor Namhong, on Hun Sen’s order, agreed to do everything by kneeling down to totally beg Siam – like through the promise to revoke the complaint against Siam to the UN Security Council, and to announce to withdraw the Khmer troops from Khmer territory first, so that Siam agrees to withdraw its invading troops also.

What is called here “Khmer territory” seems to be part of the area contested between both countries – but more specifically in this case – an area outside of the perimeter claimed by Cambodia for the listing by the World Heritage Committee – see the note above.

“Observers and experts officials said that the Hun Sen government made Cambodia to be a looser, because that territory belongs to Cambodia, as stated in the verdict of the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 1962. If Cambodia dares to order its troops back to the region again, Siam will take the opportunity to use this as a reason to order its troops to control Khmer territory. It is not believed that there will be proper and just solutions in the meetings attended by foreign affairs ministers, interior high ranking officials, and the Cambodia’s Border Committee, to guarantee that Siam will give up its invading ambition ordering its troops to control Cambodian territory.

“Getting out from the Khmer-Siamese foreign affairs ministerial meeting on 18 August 2008 in Hua Hin, and then visiting the Siamese King, Hor Namhong said that the Khmer and the Siamese sides agreed to leave only ten soldiers at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, and twenty soldiers close to the pagoda, in order to lessen the confrontation by both sides.

The Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda lies in the ‘buffer zone on the… western areas of the Temple’ which was ‘at this stage’ not claimed by the Cambodian negotiators as part of defining the perimeter of the Preah Vihear Temple.

“Furthermore, the head of the Khmer diplomats Hor Namhong said that, as a concession which is quick like an arrow, aiming to defuse the confrontation between the troops of both sides, that the government of Cambodia agreed to withdraw all its troops from the border, and will turn to negotiate peacefully through meetings between the border commissions of both countries.

“In the meantime, regarding about the movement of troops by Siam into the Ta Moan Temple on Khmer territory in the western Dang Rek Mountain region, it was kept as a separate issue. The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Tej Bunnang said that it was not on the agenda to discuss the Ta Moan Temple issue, and both sides agreed to deal with it next time.

“This shows that it is a strategic trick of Siam in the diplomatic field to create new problems, while Cambodia is weak in this field, as well as in the field to defend the nation.

“Both sides claim that the solution for the disputes at the Preah Vihear Temple is to plan to look for border markers, to clearly mark the border lines. To say so is another political trick of Siam, since, in general, they know that a verdict in the International Court of Justice in The Hague on 15 June 1962 clearly stated, by basing its verdict on the French and Siam treaties of 1904 to 1907, signed by both sides about the Khmer and Siam borders lines, which was marked in an official map in 1908.

The court, in a very lengthy document publishing its verdict, stated that the court

‘…by nine votes to three, finds that the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory
under the sovereignty of Cambodia.’

The text of the verdict clarifies things related to the temple; it does not clarify the border questions in the region. That is why both countries agreed that the next step necessary now is to work on the border demarcation.

As a related question, it would be interesting to know how the different border clarifications – with Laos, with Vietnam, and with Thailand – which have been already accomplished something, or which need still to continue to work, relate to Article 2 of the Cambodian Constitution:

‘The territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shall absolutely not to be violated within its borders as defined in the 1/100,000 scale map made between the year 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 – 1969.’

This statement seems to imply that all border questions which all neighbors are already solved – otherwise, how could there be finite, clear, detailed numbers?] – but many sections of the borderline with neighboring countries are not yet solved..

“Just having seen that the Hun Sen government agreed to kneel down to beg Siam with promises that Cambodia will withdraw its troops, even from the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia, to please Siam so that they withdraw their troops from the areas where they invaded Cambodia, allows everyone to knows that the Hun Sen government is very weak diplomacy, as well as militarily to defend its territorial integrity. How can Khmers then hope that Cambodia, ruled by the Hun Sen government of the Cambodian People’s Party, will not lose Cambodian territory, because they serve the interests of themselves or of factions among the leaders of Siam and of the Hun Sen government?” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #226, 21.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 21 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1725, 21.8.2008

  • Kuwait Asks to Establish Its Embassy in Cambodia and Kuwait Will Come to Invest in Cambodia
  • Thai Opposition Group Asks Britain to Extradite Mr. Thaksin for Trial


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #226, 21.8.2008

    Hun Sen Government Is Weak, It Conducts Diplomatic Politics by Kneeling Down to Beg Siam to Withdraw Invading Troops from Cambodia


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #78, 21.8.2008

  • Price of Gasoline Is Reduced [by Riel 400 to 500, approx. US$0.10] after the Government Had Asked for Reductions
  • US Ambassador to Cambodia [Joseph A. Mussomeli] Will Hold His Final Press Conference on Monday 25 August 2008 [his mandate ends]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6429, 21.8.2008

  • Latest Information from Preah Vihear Temple Area: Number of Delegations, Donors, and Tourists Declines


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3544, 21.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy: I Do Not Trust the Constitutional Council; They Wants to Finish the Cases Whenever They Want
  • Yim Sovann [Sam Rainsy Party official]: The Price of Fuel on the Cambodian Market Is Still High because There Are Not Many Companies Competing with Each Other


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4673, 21.8.2008

  • [Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong Compares the Negotiations [over the Preah Vihear Temple] to a Steam Roller [that it is slow but still moving]
  • The European Community Puts a High Value on Elections and Vows to Continue to Help Cambodia

  • [South] Korea Asks Cambodia to Support Investments in Mineral Resources and Energy in Cambodia
  • Many Houses of Members of the Women’s Coalition for Peace and Development Were Destroyed by a Group of Soldiers [15 August – over land disputes – Srae Ambel, Koh Kong]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3390, 21.8.2008

  • Eng Chhay Eang Resigns as Secretary-General of the Sam Rainsy Party, Causing Political Doubts
  • Ministry of Agriculture Prepares to Allow Import of Pike Fish [from Vietnam – making officials in the provinces at the border unhappy, as they have been well off from pike fish smuggling]

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – apprehension while waiting for the results of challenging alleged election fraud, the final official election results, and the forming of a new government

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