Cambodia exported more than $300 million worth of bicycles to international markets in the first four months of 2022, an increase of 54 per cent year-on-year, according to latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce.

Data shows that from January to April 2022, Cambodia’s bicycle exports amounted to $306.47 million. The US was the biggest buyer, accounting for $129.34 million, followed by Germany at $47.99 million.

Bicycle imports to Cambodia, on the other hand, continue to be a small market, totalling $5.03 million during the four month period, a decrease of 14 per cent year-on-year.

Commerce ministry secretary of state and spokesman Seang Thay told The Post that a senior ministry official recently met with Vietnamese counterparts to ensure that the Kingdom’s neighbour continues to sustainably supply raw materials for bicycle production for export to the US and EU.

Thay said that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1, 2020, obliges Vietnam’s supply of raw materials to Cambodia and other countries to meet certain conditions and adhere to the terms of the pact.

“Cambodia and Vietnam must comply with these terms of agreement to ensure the sustainability of each other’s supply … if there is no clear negotiation on this issue to avoid violating the principles of the agreement in the future, both sides will try to look at other conditions that we need to meet in order for European recognition,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the raw materials or semi-finished products for the production of Cambodian bicycles were imported from Vietnam in “reasonable” quantities, and could not be imported in large quantities due to fears that doing so may deviate from the conditions set by the agreement.

The ministry said it expects in the coming days, as the export of bicycles increases, that investors may be interested in setting up factories for parts or semi-finished products in Cambodia, which will reduce some imports.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the increase in bicycle exports since 2019 has contributed significantly to the sustainability of the Cambodian economy.

Regarding the supply of raw materials for bicycle production between Cambodia and Vietnam, he said that within the framework of ASEAN cooperation, and due to their longstanding relationship, Vietnam will likely not reduce or stop supplying to the Kingdom.

However, he warned, Cambodia should not be completely dependent on its neighbour.

“If we see a potential challenge [to our materials supply], we should consider … cooperating with local bicycle manufacturers to establish a factory that supplies bicycle components or other necessary raw materials – or look at other markets, such as China or Japan, to prevent problems from occurring eventually,” he said.

There are five bicycle factories in Cambodia, all located in Svay Rieng province. According to online media outlet Fresh News, these are A and J (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Speedtech industrial Co Ltd, Smart Tech (Cambodia) Co Ltd, XDS Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd, and Evergrand Bicycle (Cambodia) Co Ltd.

Major export markets for bicycles include the US, Germany, Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands, while the Kingdom primarily imports bicycles from Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and the US.