Cambodia exported more than $1.6 billion worth of goods to the US in the first three months of this year, a sharp 42.29 per cent year-on-year increase from $1.1 billion, said a US Census Bureau report.
The Kingdom’s imports amounted to $85.1 million, down 30 per cent from $122.1 million last year, the data shows.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economic researcher Hong Vanak told The Post on Wednesday that the rise in Cambodian exports reflects good trade cooperation between the two governments.
However, he said, a prolonged health emergency in the US would significant disrupt the flow of goods, he said.
“Our exports are rising at the moment, possibly because of US orders made before the Covid-19 outbreak, which has translated into export data showing strong growth,” he said.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has again called on global brand companies, retailers and traders to be responsible in their purchasing decisions – to accept goods that have been delivered and to not retract orders or renegotiate their terms.
This comes after mounting suspensions of US and European orders forced 180 factories to shut down and 60 more to downsize, threatening the livelihoods of more than 150,000 workers, GMAC said in a letter.
“Cambodian factories are already suffering from the cancellation of many orders and the lack of new orders. They will not last long without payment,” it said.
An amendment to the Generalised System of Preferences that went into effect in July 2016 removed US customs tariffs on Cambodian-made travel products such as luggage, backpacks, handbags and wallets.
The items, which previously faced tariffs of between 4.5 and 20 per cent, now enter the US duty-free under the expanded programme.
Under the programme, approximately 5,000 products from 122 beneficiary developing countries and territories – including 43 least-developed countries – are eligible for duty-free export to the US.
Cambodian exports to the US were worth about $5.362 billion last year, up 40 per cent from 2018’s $3.818 billion, US Department of Commerce data shows. Imports rose 15 per cent to $513.4 million last year from 2018’s $445.8 million.
The US remains Cambodia’s largest trading partner and export market. Cambodia is currently the US’ 66th largest goods trading partner with $4.3 billion in total bilateral goods trade during 2018.
US imports of agricultural products from Cambodia totalled $24 million in 2018. The US imported mostly rice and rubber.