Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exports rose 19 percent: Commerce Ministry

Exports rose 19 percent: Commerce Ministry

The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh, as seen last year. Photo supplied
The Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh, as seen last year. Photo supplied

Exports rose 19 percent: Commerce Ministry

The Commerce Ministry yesterday announced a 19 percent surge in exports for the year and a quadrupling of revenue collected from import licence fees, but would not provide analogous figures for total imports or explain what could be driving the increases.

According to the ministry’s annual report, the value of exports under the Generalized System of Preferences – which gives Cambodia favourable trade terms with developed countries – totalled $9.55 billion, a 19.22 percent increase on last year.

“The result is a huge achievement for our exports, the outcome of our hard work in the team,” said Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak. “We’ve tried to build up bilateral relationships in order to reach international markets.”

Sorasak said his ministry would continue to push other potential export products such cassava despite increasingly fraught relationships with key trading partners over the ruling party’s crackdown on the opposition.

The bulk of Cambodia’s exports are garments shipped to the European Union and US. Earlier this month, the European parliament voted to consider suspending Cambodia’s preferential trade access, with its politicians criticising political developments in the Kingdom including the dissolution of the CNRP.

“Even though there is some tension from the EU, it will not affect our markets and exports since everything is already booked,” Sorasak said.

The ministry’s annual report also says the government raised $2 million from issuing import licences – an increase of 336 percent from last year – and $9 million from issuing export licences, a rise of 37 percent.

When asked about the jump in revenue from import licence fees, ministry spokesman Long Kemvichet said the figure was collated from several government authorities so he did not know what was behind the rise.

Mey Kalyan, senior adviser to the Supreme National Economic Council, said the numbers could suggest that imports were growing faster than exports, raising concerns of a growing trade imbalance.

“We need to see: What do we import for? If we’re importing for construction or developing the country, it makes good sense for us. But if it’s for consumption then it means our local capacity is limited when it comes to producing by ourselves,” Kalyan said.

Lim Heng, vice president of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said it was imperative to keep exports growing.

“We still hope that our economic growth will keep increasing,” he said. Policies targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises – such the specialised state bank announced earlier this month – would be key to keep driving up exports next year, he said.

A World Bank report released last month says Cambodia’s long-running reliance on garments exports is easing as the sector’s growth slows and other types of manufacturing, such as electronics, strengthens. Tourism is also showing signs of renewed growth, it says.

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to