Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Exports to US see 26% growth

Exports to US see 26% growth

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A garment worker stitches Armani jeans in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Exports to US see 26% growth

Exports to the US grew 26 per cent in the first half of this year, despite tensions over the Kingdom’s July 29 national elections.

This stands in stark contrast to last year when export growth to the US was in single digits.

The latest trade data from the US government said goods from Cambodia brought in between January and June totalled $1.72 billion – representing a 26 per cent growth over last year’s 4.5 per cent compared to the first half of 2016.

The figures also noted that the US exported $214 million worth of goods to the Kingdom.

Supreme National Economic Council senior adviser Mey Kalyan said the first half achievement is a positive move that will strengthen the country’s export capacity.

He pointed out that, despite political tensions in the past year between the two nations, efforts were still being made to boost economic ties.

“It shows that the poor political climate has not contributed to any negative impact on trade,” he said.

The vast majority of Cambodia’s exports to the US were garment and footwear products. The export of Cambodian-made travel goods to the US recently showed a huge increase as many items qualified for duty-free status in July of 2016.

While the export of travel goods like suitcases and handbags from Cambodia to the US was valued at about $50 million per annum before 2016, in the first half of this year it totalled $160 million.

However, some have speculated that export performance could take a hit in the second half of the year.

There are worries that the US could review its preferential tariff agreement with Cambodia as the world’s largest consumer market has already described the July 29 poll as unfair.

Nevertheless, Kiang Monika, deputy secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said with stability after the election, there is optimism for further export growth.

“I am less worried about the political situation, and more worried about the wage increases and provisions over mandated worker pay. The productivity growth rate is lagging behind the rate of wage increases,” he said.

“We need to work properly on wage policies, otherwise it could erode our competitiveness. We are contracted manufacturers, so labour costs are our main component,” he said.

Truly amazing

Monika said Cambodia’s garment exports in the first six months of this year saw a growth rate of 14 per cent. He said this was truly amazing after years of stagnation and explained that orders were increasingly coming out of China.

Chap Sotharith, research director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP), speculated that future exports from Cambodia to the US would stay positive.

“In terms of trade, the US won’t make any decisions that hurt Cambodia’s performance,” he said, acknowledging that the Kingdom would suffer without trade privileges.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will