Bilateral trade between Cambodia and the US stood at $9.159 billion in 2021, rising by 32.6 per cent from $6.906 billion a year earlier, following an 18.0 per cent uptick from 2019, according to US Census Bureau (USCB) data on February 10.
Last year, Cambodian exports to the US amounted to $8.7453 billion, up by 33.3 per cent from $6.5624 billion in 2020, and imports logged $413.7 million, ticking up by 20 per cent year-on-year from $343.9 million.
The Kingdom’s overall trade surplus with the US over the period widened by 33.98 per cent year-on-year from $6.2185 billion to $8.3316 billion.
In December alone, bilateral trade reached nearly $763 million, up 38.4 per cent year-on-year and down eight per cent month-on-month, and the Kingdom’s trade surplus with the US was $691.5 million, up 42 per cent year-on-year and down 9.3 per cent month-on-month.
Cambodian exports to the US that month were $727.1 million, up 40 per cent year-on-year and down eight per cent month-on-month, and imports were $35.6 million, up 13 per cent both year-on-year and month-on-month.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president LimHeng told The Post that the trade figures indicate that Cambodian products – especially textile-related goods – are highly sought-after in the US market.
He pointed out that Cambodian exports to the US picked up pace in 2021 – up 10.3 percentage points from 22.96 per cent in 2020.
Heng ascribed the acceleration to improved control of the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in the Kingdom which he said catalysed progress towards the development of sustainable production chains, as well as gains in market share from competitors dogged by unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19 and political issues – an apparent reference to Myanmar.
He predicted that Cambodian exports to the US would remain on a positive growth trajectory in 2022, citing Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) notices that he said indicate a recent upswing in companies investing in textile-related sectors.
The Ministry of Commerce’s report on January-October exports shows that the US was the largest buyer of Cambodian goods, followed by the EU, China and Japan.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy underscored that the Kingdom’s exports to the US retained vitality last year, even though supply chains temporarily shut down due to Covid curbs.
This, he said, was due to improvements in Cambodia-US diplomatic and trade relations, and a greater supply of local goods that meet the product, price and quality demands of the US market.
However, he acknowledged that the global shipping industry has faced two main problems in the Covid era: spiralling freight costs and a shortage of cargo containers.
“Still, none of these issues could hinder shipping from Cambodia to the US market,” he said, indicating that Cambodia-US trade relations would very likely remain positive.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post this week that the effective control of the Covid situation, production chain improvements, and a pick-up in orders from China contributed to a net gain in the number of factories recorded last year in the Kingdom.
He also cited the relocation of production capabilities and the diversion of orders from “some unstable countries” – a category that most likely features Myanmar at the top of the list.
“In 2022, the number of factories operating in Cambodia will continue to increase further, and the volume of exports will increase accordingly,” Monika said.
Major Cambodian exports to the US were garments, footwear, bags and electronic components, and notable imports included vehicles, electronics and other finished products.