Nothing screams USA pride more than a skimpy red, white and blue bikini. But does it matter that the $32.98 swimsuit mentioned above, and sold at Target, actually was made in Cambodia? As the nation prepares to celebrate its 238th birthday, "Buy America" efforts are still going strong, though emotions on the subject tend to fluctuate depending on the state of the economy. But what about products, ranging from toothpicks to towels, with specific patriotic motifs? Or the U.S. flag itself? Should those products, which are marketed with an Uncle Sam sentiment in mind, be made in the United States?

Apparel makers including Gap, H&M and Inditex urged Cambodia's government, its garment industry and unions to hold talks after a strike over workers’ pay led to deadly clashes. The government, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia and labor unions should engage in negotiations and support a new wage-review mechanism to avoid future violence, the retailers said in an open letter yesterday. Adidas, Puma, Levi Strauss & Co., and Columbia Sportswear also signed the letter. At least three people were killed when police used live ammunition to crush a protest by striking garment workers in Phnom Penh, the Cambodia Daily reported. 

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M said on Tuesday that some of its clothing was produced in a Cambodia factory where 23 people were injured in an accident on its premises Monday. The Stockholm-based retailer also said its orders had been placed at the factory without its knowledge, highlighting the lack of control some of the world's biggest brands may have over their supply chains. Garment factories in Cambodia and other countries sometimes subcontract orders from retail brands to

"We don't recognize our image reflected in these complaints," said Camilla Emilsson Falk, H&M's spokeperson to the Aftonbladet newspaper. "We also want the wages to be raised, and we're working hard to promote wages increasing in several countries, including Cambodia, among others." H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson also defended the company's practices. "We are working with one of the world's leading experts on salaries in countries like Cambodia. We want the salaries to be raised," he told the Expressen newspaper.

Workers at a Cambodian garment factory that makes clothes for Levi's, Gap and other well-known international brands are striking for more pay and better working conditions. More than 5,000 workers from the Singaporean-owned SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd. failed to reach an agreement with their employers Tuesday to end an 11-day strike. Ath Thon, director of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers, said workers are demanding an increase in their base pay of $61 a month for 8-hour days, six days a week. He said they want a $5 salary hike and an extra $25 a month for transportation and housing.

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