China, Vietnam and Thailand, three major markets which Cambodia imports from, shipped more than $11.5 billion worth of goods here, making up around 70.8 per cent of Cambodia’s total imports of $16.3 billion in the first eight months of 2023, the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) of Cambodia stated.

According to the GDCE, China topped the list with $7.2 billion exports to Cambodia or around 43.9 per cent of the total shipment, slipping 0.6 per cent year-on-year from the same period last year. Imports from Vietnam, which fell 11.7 per cent to $2.5 billion, represented 15 per cent of the total imports, whereas shipments from Thailand shrank 25.8 per cent to $1.9 billion or 11.9 per cent of the share.

Between January and August 2023, Cambodia reduced its spending on imports by 25.2 per cent, which amounted to $16.3 billion compared to $21.8 billion in the corresponding period in 2022, the GDCE said, adding that Cambodia also imports from Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on September 25 that the geographical location and response to the price, quality and type of goods Cambodia consumes has seen the highest inflow of goods annually from the three key countries.

He explained that the imported goods not only meet local demand, but also support the industrial production sector which caters to the export market.

“Due to the strong production capacity of those three countries and Cambodia’s production cost effectiveness and fairly good transportation services, imports from the three countries are likely to rise, as the global economic growth recovers,” he said.

Lim Heng shared that the imports from China, Vietnam and Thailand meet almost all of Cambodia’s needs, from food and daily necessities to electronics and large machinery, although the country also exports “a lot of goods” to those countries.

In the first eight months of 2023, the GDCE showed that Cambodia sold $3.4 billion worth of goods to China, Vietnam and Thailand, accounting for 21.9 per cent of the total export value of $15.7 billion.

Kim Hout, director of the Department of Commerce in Battambang, said export-import activities are progressing as normal in the province, which is home to Cambodia’s largest cassava exports to Thailand. The province is contiguous with Thailand. Most of the goods to Thailand consist of agricultural, agro-industrial and natural resources while imports from there comprise daily necessities, construction materials, fuel and agricultural machinery.

In 2022, imports from China, Vietnam and Thailand stood at $18.2 billion, accounting for 60.9 per cent of Cambodia’s total imports of $29.9 billion, according to the GDCE.