Cambodia's exports to the US were worth more than $5 billion last year, a sharp year-on-year increase.
The latest data from the US trade office shows that Cambodian exports to the world’s largest economy skyrocketed last year, growing by 40 per cent to reach $5.36 billion.
At the same time, the Kingdom imported $513.4 million worth of goods from the US, a 15 per cent year-on-year increase.
This is good news for the business community in the Kingdom, particularly after the EU on Wednesday announced the partial revocation of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.
Speaking at a conference in Phnom Penh last week, US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy praised the strong business ties between the two nations.
“The trade between our two countries is quite important. It’s a key pillar of our relationship and it’s getting stronger. Not everyone knows or appreciates this, but the US is the single largest country market for the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said.
He said Cambodia exports large amounts of goods to the US, generating more than a million jobs in the Kingdom.
“It’s a key driver of economic growth. Thanks in part to what I modestly call the generosity of the US and the US Congress, Cambodia has been accorded trade benefits and has taken good advantage of those trade benefits.
“Exports to the US topped $5 billion last year, and a good portion of that is thanks to the Generalised System of Preferences [GSP]. Also part of that relationship is agriculture.
“It’s an important component in how we trade. Cambodian rice is now on the shelves of US supermarkets,” Murphy said.
Murphy encouraged Cambodian businesses to begin exporting new products to the US, particularly agricultural goods.
In July 2016, the US government expanded the GSP scheme to include travel goods from the Kingdom.
Last month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said garment exports to the US grew by 30 per cent in 2018 and 47 per cent last year.
“In 2020, I expect garment exports to Europe will drop or stagnate due to the impact of the EBA. However, this will be offset by the rapidly growing exports to the US, so we are not too concerned.”
The US remains Cambodia’s largest trading partner and export market. Cambodia is currently the US’ 66th largest goods trading partner with $4.3 billion in total bilateral goods trade during 2018.
US total imports of agricultural products from Cambodia totalled $24 million in 2018. The US imported mostly rice and rubber.