Cambodia exported more than $4 billion worth of goods, namely textile, to the European Union in 2022, which is an increase of more than 25 per cent from $3.2 billion in 2021, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s iTrade Bulletin for July.

According to the exports, Cambodia’s exports of garments and accessories to the EU market were valued more than $2.64 billion, while footwear, gaiters and the like, totalled $489 million, vehicles other than railways ($452 million), and leather goods, travel accessories, bags ($153 million).

In 2022, Cambodia’s imports from the EU fell 15.5 per cent to around $811 million from $960 million in 2021.

Bilateral trade volume rose nearly 16 per cent to $4.9 billion from $4.2 billion in 2021.

The European Union is Cambodia’s second largest export market after the US, and the fourth largest trading partner after China, the US and Vietnam.

Other major trading partners include Germany ($1.24 billion), Belgium ($731.6 million), the Netherlands ($596.7 million), France ($542.4 million) and Spain ($503.8 million).

Royal Academy of Cambodia economic researcher Hong Vannak told The Post on August 9 that the EU is a cluster of developed economies and high-income populations.

Therefore, Cambodia must strive to maintain this market well to increase more export opportunities.

Currently, Cambodia mostly exports clothing, travel bags, shoes, bicycles and some agricultural products.

The increase in Cambodia’s export value in 2022 is due to good diplomatic relations as well as preferential tariffs on imports to the EU.

He said the Russia-Ukraine war, which has lasted more than a year, is also an opportunity for Cambodia to boost agricultural exports to the European market.

Russia and Ukraine were major suppliers in Europe in the past.

“I think the EU would continue being a major market for more Cambodian goods, even after the crisis is over,” he said.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng, said the reason why trade between Cambodia and the European Union increased in 2022 was due to good political and diplomatic relations, and the EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) scheme.

“The provision of the EBA scheme means that some Cambodian goods are not subject to tax or enjoy lower tax,” he said.

Data from the General Department of Customs and Excise shows that in 2022, Cambodia’s international trade volume amounted to $52.4 billion, an increase of 9.2 percent from $48.0 billion in 2021.

Of that, Cambodia exported $22.5 billion worth of goods to international markets, up by 16.4 percent, and imported almost $30 billion goods from international markets, rising by 4.3 percent.