Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Canada reached over $756 million in the first ten months of 2023, representing a decrease of more than 22% compared to the same period in 2022.

Cambodia’s exports accounted for more than $700 million of the figure, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE).

From January to October, total trade volume between the two countries amounted to $756.13 million, a decline of 22.4% from $974.83 million in the corresponding period of 2022.

Of this, Cambodia exported goods worth $702.65 million, a reduction of 25.7%, while imports from Canada saw a significant increase to $53.48 million (up 81.2%). During the period, Cambodia’s trade surplus stood at $649.17 million. 

Canada is currently ranked as Cambodia’s ninth largest trading partner, following China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Germany and Singapore, as per the GDCE.

Hong Vannak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, stated on November 22 that the downturn in trade between the two nations is attributable to the ongoing global economic crisis since early 2020. 

He said the slowdown has impacted the demand for various consumer goods, particularly non-essential items other than food. Since Canada primarily imports garments, shoes and travel bags from Cambodia, this has led to a decline in the value of exports.

Vannak noted that Cambodian textile exports to Canada are showing signs of recovery, aided by the revival of tourism, which has increased orders for these products from Cambodia. 

“The decline in Cambodia-Canada bilateral trade volume, particularly Cambodia’s exports, is a consequence of the global economic crisis. Therefore, as the global economy recovers, Cambodia’s exports to Canada will also likely rebound,” he said.

However, he advised the government to intensify efforts to attract new investors and diversify its product range to cater to both domestic and international markets.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), also stated that the decline in trade, especially Cambodian exports, is due to global economic uncertainty, leading many buyers to reduce orders. 

He said the trend began in the second half of 2022 but noted that despite the fall in exports, the country’s production capacity remains robust.

“The decline in Cambodia-Canada trade during the period stems from the global economic crisis. Thus, when global economic growth stabilises, Cambodia’s exports are expected to recover,” he stated.

He also mentioned that the CCC opened a representative office in Toronto, Canada, in mid-2022 to increase market share there and attract more Canadian investors to Cambodia. The office is responsible for promoting Cambodian products and facilitating Canadian investment.

According to Heng, the country’s primary exports to Canada include garments, travel products, footwear, bicycles and electrical equipment, along with electronic components. Canadian exports to Cambodia mainly comprise electronics and automobiles.