Cambodia's total exports rose more than 40 per cent year-on-year through October, carried by strong growth in agriculture shipments.
Total exports reached US$4.05 billion in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with $2.82 billion during the same period last year, an increase of 44 per cent, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
Agricultural exports hit $330 million, more than doubling year-on-year, according to the data. Garment exports totalled $3.47 billion, increasing about 34 per cent. Trade preferences, including duty-free treatment, on garment exports to the European Union accounted for a 60 per cent jump in garment shipments to countries in the union.
Garment exports to the United States grew by about 10 per cent, hitting nearly $1.7 billion by the end of October, according to ministry data.
It was trade preferences in Europe, coupled with new markets in China and Japan, that pushed export growth through the 10-month period, Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Ok Boung said yesterday.
Recent agricultural exports show progress toward the government’s goal of exporting 1 million tonnes of milled rice by 2015, he claimed.
“We have had more chances to export not only garments and textiles to the EU, but we can also export agricultural products to them and some Asia markets because they’ve given us duty-free treatment,” Ok Boung said.
“If we start to export more and more [milled rice] now, I believe we’ll reach the government’s milled rice export goal.”
Funds for agricultural products are still constrained and will require participation from both local and foreign investment, especially in rice production, Ok Boung added.
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday that exports from Cambodia were shifting from raw commodities to processed goods.
“We usually export natural rubber, but now we can export milled rice, cassava and more,” he said, adding that processing capacity still needs to be strengthened.
Support from the government in reducing paperwork and unnecessary fees has made Cambodia’s investment environment more attractive, he claimed.