Cambodian exports to the US, one of the Kingdom’s biggest export destinations, fell 6 per cent in the first quarter, as the Cambodia continues to diversify its export destinations beyond the EU and US.
According to data from the US Department of Commerce, Cambodia exported goods worth $725 million during the first three months of 2015, compared with $771 million in the same period last year. The data did not specify the details of the goods that have been exported to the US, but the past export reports have shown that shipments were largely garment products.
Kaing Monika, deputy secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said the drop in exports to the US was not due US market problems.
While exports to the US dropped, Monika said, the EU’s market share has continued to grow and is currently more than 40 per cent of garment exports from the Kingdom. In contrast, the US share has dropped from 75 per cent five years ago to just below 30 per cent.
“[Exports to] Europe is increasing and now seems to have overtaken the US [in market share],” said Monika. “We are now having a stable production rather than strong growth. And if this situation continues, we could expect better exports.”
Although data showed a slight dip earlier this year, the IMF’s forecast for Asia in April sees Cambodia registering strong growth this year due to the impact of the US economic recovery, helping increase the country’s exports to the US.
Markus Rodlauer, deputy director of the IMF’s Asia-Pacific region, said “The rebound of the US economy is a positive evolution as it will allow the country to export more goods to help support the growth as well.”
Mey Kalyan, senior adviser to the Supreme National Economic Council, said reducing Cambodia’s dependence on the US market and increasing exports to other regions would reduce its risk to a possible downturn in the US.
He added that diversifying to the EU not the opnly solution and that exporters should be looking at opportunities to expand into other countries, especially in Asia.
“We want to have a diversify from garment production and export to markets beyond the existing ones, such as Japan and Thailand,” Kalyan added