Cambodian exports saw a nearly 20 per cent increase for the first half of the year, as garment shipments to the European Union led the way in making up for a decrease in exports to the United States, according to a new Ministry of Commerce report.
The report shows that outbound shipments from Cambodia brought in $3.9 billion for the first six months, as compared to the $3.28 billion reported for the same period in 2014. The rise was buoyed by a 32 per cent increase in garments to the European Union, not including textiles and footwear.
“Cambodian exports to the EU are free. So for the last few years, the EU market has been number one for Cambodia’s garment and there is a change of market,” said Ho Sivyong, director of the Export-Import Department.
According to Sivyong, political stability and fewer garment-worker strikes this year are two of the reasons for increased purchases by EU buyers Garment exports to the Kingdom’s other major export destination, the United States, saw a small fall of 7 per cent to $856 million in the first half of the year, with textiles registering a more than 40 per cent drop.
“We’ve tried to negotiate with the US about the export tariffs – making it free like EU – but they were not very interested because our market is small,” Sivyong added.
Rice, another key export product for Cambodia, saw a 22 per cent rise to the EU market on account of the its Everything But Arms policy, which allows imports from least developed countries to enter duty- and quota-free. Rice shipments to the US, which does not offer this privilege, dropped by almost 60 per cent.