PHNOM PENH — A group representing garment factories in Cambodia is urging the government to suspend the minimum wage to help the sector face “desperate times” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cambodia’s apparel and footwear sector is vital to the country’s economy, generating $10 billion in annual exports and employing 800,000 people. It has been pummelled by the coronavirus crisis, which has wreaked havoc with global consumer demand.

More than 250 factories employing some 130,000 workers have suspended operations.