The value of Cambodia’s exports surged to $7.7 billion in the first nine months of this year, a 17 percent increase from the same period last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce yesterday.
The figures show total exports increasing due to the continued expansion of the Kingdom’s garment sector under the Generalised System of Preferences and Most Favoured Nation schemes, which allow increased numbers of Cambodian products to enter markets with duty-free access and reduced tariffs.
The garment industry alone accounted for $4.9 billion of total exports, showing an increase of 8.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Exports from the footwear industry have shot up by 43.3 percent and now total $636 million. Exports of rice, however, have fallen to $207 million, a decrease of 6.7 percent.
Cambodia’s biggest market, the European Union, saw a 5.9 percent increase of goods sent from the Kingdom with its exports totalling $3 billion so far this year. While exports to Japan have increased by 25.8 percent and now total $534 million, those to the United States – a traditionally strong market for Cambodia – have fallen by 1 percent to about $1.5 billion.
Ngoun Meng Tech, director-general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, applauded the increased exports but stressed the importance of the agriculture sector.
“Garment and footwear are outstanding markets,” he said. “However, we should try to promote our agriculture products to reach the international market and promote our economic growth.”