The effects of the ongoing global political and economic crisis has likely affected bilateral trade between Cambodia and Canada, as reflected by a 24.7 per cent year-on-year fall in trade value at $535 million in the first seven months of 2023, versus $711.1 million last year.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), Cambodian exports to Canada dropped 28 per cent to nearly $497 million, while imports from Canada grew 86.1 per cent to $38.7 million.

Based on the data, the trade surplus between January and July stood around $458 million.

The bilateral trade value between Cambodia and Canada for the seven-month period is equivalent to 1.93 per cent of Cambodia’s total international trade volume of $27.7 billion, making Canada Cambodia’s ninth largest trading partner after China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Germany.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on September 4 that although the chamber opened a representative office in Toronto, Canada last year to promote Cambodian products, provide information to Canadian investors, and attract investment, trade between both countries is “still declining”.

“The slowdown is not due to either side, but the effects of the global economic crisis. Trade volume between Cambodia and Canada, and with other countries would improve only when the global economic and geopolitical situation improved,” Lim Heng said.

In addition, he opined, the current decline in the Cambodian-Canadian trade volume is “not uncommon”, because personal spending in many countries has tightened, causing countries to reduce imports.

Exports to Canada include garments, travel products, footwear, electrical equipment and electronic components and bicycles, while Cambodia imports electronic goods from Canada.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said a global crisis impacts almost every country.

However, Cambodia needs to strengthen its economy in order to manage the decline by finding new markets and improving the quality and quantity of its products, and to prepare for economic recovery in the future.

“This is an opportunity for Cambodia to study and strongly develop [its economy] without relying heavily on imported products and to expand its export diversification for the future,” he said.

According to National Bank of Cambodia’s data on foreign direct investment, Canada was the ninth largest investor with $1.1 billion or about 2.8 per cent of total investment value of $41 billion in 2021, after China, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and the UK.

In 2022, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Canada totalled more than $1.1 billion, up 16.1 per cent from nearly $995 million in 2021.

Cambodia exported more than $1.1 million worth of goods to Canada, an increase of 17.4 per cent, while imports from Canada fell 15.1 per cent to $33.9 million.