Cambodia's exports to South Korea rose by more than 100 per cent last year, according to officials at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
Agricultural and garment exports largely accounted for the surge.
Mai Vireak/Phnom Penh Post
Containers unloaded after shipment at Phnom Penh port.
KOTRA data shows total exports were worth US$87.3 million in 2011, compared with $43.4 million the previous year.
Total imports from Korea also rose 35.4 per cent to $450.7 million, compared with $333 million a year earlier.
KOTRA director-general Kwang Ho Lee said the largest increases had been in the vehicle and automotive-parts sector.
Lee said that close ties and strong efforts between the two nations over the past few years had boosted both diplomatic and economic relationships.
“Last year, both Cambodia and Korea experienced a strengthening in their relationship, which weas especially important because it led to big increases in Cambodia's exports,” he said.
Lee said rising rubber, seafood, agricultural and garment exports last year had had significant consequences for the economy.
Cambodia had exported 30 tonnes of shrimp and crab to Korea last year, but rubber remained the Kingdom's biggest export, he said.
“We see more and more Koreans investing in Cambodia's garment manufacturing industry. In the past, most garments were exported to the US, but now that our garment sector is improving and there is more competition, new markets need to be found,” he said.
Trade exhibitions and joint trade fairs had also helped develop the import and export markets between the two countries, he said.
Nam Shik Kang, chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, said Cambodia needed to diversify the products it exported to Korea.
“Cambodia should develop more good items to sell in the Korean market,” he said.
“Right now, there is little diversity in the few Cambodian items available in Korea. I strongly believe that both countries will tie up stronger economic and diplomatic relations this year.”
Cambodia's main exports to Korea are natural rubber, cotton, seafood, aluminum waste and scrap, as well as garments including jerseys, pullovers and cardigans, according to official data.
Korea's most profitable exports to Cambodia are used clothing, internal combustion engines, cylinders and cigarettes.