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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Good relations with South Korea bear economic fruit

Good relations with South Korea bear economic fruit

Cambodia's total exports to South Korea dramatically rose more than 79 per cent year-on-year in first half of 2012 compared to 2011 with the main growth coming from garment and agricultural products, according to the official data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

Total exports were worth US$61.8 million for the first half of the year, an increase of 79.3 per cent compared to $34.4 million for the same period in 2011, while total imports from Korea increased 37.9 per cent to $287 million from $208 million, KOTRA’s data showed.

Chan Nora, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, said the close relationship between both governments has been the main drive in promoting investment and trade.

“We have a good relationship with them and our economy is very open. In addition, Korea is very supportive of us exporting to them,” he said.

Director General of KOTRA Gwang Ho Lee echoed Chan Nora’s sentiment. “This year, we reached a critical point, that’s why we see our trade increased so much in the first of half of this year. It’s also related to the investment.”

He said that the main exports from Cambodia were garments, seafood and agricultural products but the latter was limited in range available, due to hygiene issues.

“The problem is that you need to have hygiene certificates and that requires the government and private sector to work together to form a hygienic certificate system for the export of agricultural products to Korea,” he said.

“I hope in the next few years, exports of agricultural products will be the main products sent to the Korean market from Cambodia, because nowadays more and more Korean investors are focusing on the agricultural sector,” added Gwang Ho Lee.

Cambodian’s main exports to Korea were natural rubber (TSNR), cotton, seafood, aluminum waste and scrap, jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats, women’s and girl’s panties and other garments, according to the data provided by KOTRA.

Korea’s main export to Cambodia was used clothing and other worn articles, cigarettes, machinery, automotive parts, and parts of garments and clothing accessories.  

Gwang Ho Lee hopes that total exports from Cambodia will reach $100 million, while the total imports from Korea will reach $500 million by year’s end.

“We see more and more trade and business partnerships developing between Korea and Cambodia as the two countries get even closer.”

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at



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