Bilateral trade between the Kingdom and the US amounted to $5.8 billion in the first 10 months of this year, up $972.8 million or 15.9 per cent over the $5 billion registered in the same period last year, data from the US Census Bureau show.

This comes amid Covid-19’s continued assault on the world’s largest economy (in nominal terms) and the grim reality that one American per minute is dying in the US due to the coronavirus, according to figures from online portal Worldometer.

The export value of Cambodian goods during the period was $5.5 billion, up 21.34 per cent from $4.5 billion last year, and goods imported from the US were worth $269.7 million, down 39.5 per cent from $445.9 million.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on December 8 that the uptick in trade clearly illustrates the magnitude of the US market and its importance as a destination for Cambodian products.

He said the statistics are testament to the resilience of Cambodian export growth in light of Covid-19.

“The heightened exports can be regarded as an influx of international currency into the Cambodian national economic production chain,” Vanak said.

In tandem with the surge, the Kingdom must also devote more towards improving the quality of products and services and ensuring compliance with labour laws, he said, adding that the US is known for setting the bar very high.

“All Cambodian manufacturers must strive to reinforce their quality and services in order to diversify the Cambodian economy towards greater and more efficient levels,” Vanak said.

He attributed the drop in imports from the US to muted demand, pointing out that they comprise mainly cars and machinery.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy said orders from the US are still omnipresent.

With Cambodian products ever in high demand, he said the sustained export growth is a sure sign that the US will remain an important market for the Kingdom, rain or shine.

“The fact that the export of Cambodian goods grew more than 20 per cent is a source of pride,” Chanthy said, adding that the volume of goods passing through Sihanoukville Autonomous Port had purportedly not logged a year-on-year drop so far in 2020.

The Kingdom’s exports to the US have continued to grow since travel goods – including handbags, backpacks and luggage – were granted duty-free status under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) in July 2016.

Key US-bound products include bicycles, clothing and footwear.

Bilateral trade between the two countries totalled $5.8 billion last year, up 38.05 per cent compared to $4.2 billion in 2018, data from the US Census Bureau show.

Of that, Cambodian exports were to the tune of $5.3 billion, and imports clocked in at $514 million.