Despite ongoing headwinds posed by the global Covid-19 crisis, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan maintained positive signs in the third quarter of this year.
From January-September, trade between the two countries was valued at a total of $1.75437 billion, marking a year-on-year jump of 13.10 per cent from $1.55115 billion, according to the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
The Kingdom’s exports to Japan during the period were worth $1.31625 billion, surging by nearly nine per cent year-on-year from $1.21181 billion, and imports stood at $438.12 million, up by 29.1 per cent year-on-year from $339.34 million.
Bilateral trade in September totalled $241.98 million, climbing by 20.23 per cent from $201.27 million. Cambodian exports amounted to $189.01 million, rising by 16.1 per cent year-on-year, and imports clocked in at $52.97 million, jumping by 37.8 per cent year-on-year.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that trade between the two countries by and large increases every year, except in 2020, which recorded a decline that he attributed to the effects of restrictions on cross-border movement of people and goods.
The upswing in exports and imports reflects an improvement of bilateral diplomatic relations and the confidence of both peoples in the quality of the other country’s products, he said.
He added that this growth will increase even more as Cambodia introduces new investment laws and regulations to raise its attractiveness for foreign investors, including Japanese entities, to go into production for export in the Kingdom.
“Japan is one of Cambodia’s potential markets, so I expect trade between the two countries to continue to grow further, especially when Cambodia reopens to a wide range of tourists and investors from the end of November,” Heng said.
The Covid-19 crisis prompted airlines Japan Airlines and ANA to suspend direct flights to Cambodia, which have yet to resume.
Heng pointed out that Japanese orders of Cambodian agricultural products have been on a sustained growth trajectory.
In Lai Huot, owner of the Chey Sambor cashew nut processing plant in southwestern Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district, said Cambodian products could garner more Japanese support with improved methods of preparation, processing and packaging.
“Japan is a large market where every product must meet a high standard of quality,” she said.
She shared that Top Planning Japan has placed so many orders at Chey Sambor for finished cashew nuts that the business’ limited production capacity is hardly able to keep pace.
Jetro listed garments, and electrical and electronic components as key Cambodian exports to Japan; and machinery, electronics and high-tech products as the main imports.
Last year as the Covid-19 crisis took hold, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan clocked in at $2.10178 billion last year, down by 8.35 per cent from 2019, Jetro data show.
Cambodian exports were to the tune of $1.61708 billion in 2020, dipping by 6.6 per cent year-on-year, and imports were $484.70 million, sliding by 13.8 per cent year-on-year. The Kingdom’s trade surplus with Japan was $1.1324 billion.