Cambodia's total exports surged 42 per cent through November to US$4.5 billion from $3.16 billion, official data from the Ministry of Commerce showed, as the Kingdom’s staple products of garments, textiles and agriculture led the move.
Rising global demand, new trade agreements with regional neighbours and tariff-free shipments to the European Union drove this growth, according to Kong Putheara, director of the ministry’s statistics department.
“Our exports keep growing. We’re on a very good track,” Kong Putheara said on Friday, adding that milled-rice exports, especially, had sizeable increases during the period.
Milled-rice exports rose about 196 per cent year-on-year through November to $87.5 million, up from $29.6 million in the year-ago per-iod, according to the ministry’s data.
University of Cambodia business and economics lecturer Chheng Kimlong said the country’s production sector was improving, allowing for more exports as well as local consumption.
“This year, we see our exports to the EU are getting higher and higher . . . That’s good for us, because we not only export garments and textiles to the EU, but also our agricultural products,” he said.
Ministry of Commerce data showed that the export of garments and textiles rose about 40 per cent to $3.95 billion, up from $2.82 billion last year.
Total exports of agricultural products such as fish, processed wood, cashew nuts and rubber reached $285.6 million, an increase of about 123 per cent over last year’s total of $128.2 million.
Total imports also jumped, increasing by about 40 per cent to $5.98 billion from $4.28 billion.
Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon last week expressed concerns about the European debt crisis and the economic slowdown in the US, both of which he said might have an impact on exports next year.
But Kong Putheara said there was still demand for Cambodian products from both the European Union and the United States, adding that the Kingdom was trying to diversify its exported products and target markets.
Still, Chheng Kimlong said that if the situation in the West did not improve, it would definitely have an impact on the Kingdom’s export power.
“Market diversification is very important for us, and we see the government is working on it,” he said.