Cambodia netted over $1.2 billion from exporting footwear, gaiters and related articles in the first 11 months of 2023, marking a nearly 23% decrease year-on-year. However, the last few months of 2023 showed signs of gradual improvement, as reported by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). 

Between January and November, the export of goods classified under Harmonised System (HS) Code 64 amounted to $1.21 billion, a 22.8% drop from $1.57 billion in the corresponding period of 2022. 

The value represents 5.92% of the country’s total exports in the first 11 months of 2023, which totalled $20.49 billion.

In November alone, the exports of these items stood at $124.61 million, a 2.3% decline from $127.59 million year-on-year. 

Ly Khun Thai, president of the Cambodian Footwear Association (CFA), attributed the downturn in 2023 to an overabundance of orders in 2022, leading to surplus stock. 

He also noted that the ongoing global economic uncertainty, which has persisted for several years, impacts both the costs and travel habits of people worldwide, subsequently reducing purchases of footwear and other essentials.

“For 2024, according to the analysis by experts from the CFA, the export of footwear, gaiters and the like, as well as parts of such articles, may surpass last year’s. This is due to the sales momentum of companies ordering from Cambodia in the last six months of 2023, which has been positive. The release of stock by buyers and stores will likely boost orders for these products in 2024 compared to 2023,” he said.

According to the association, Cambodian footwear, including prominent international brands like Adidas, Clarks and Timberland, is chiefly exported to major markets such as the US, EU, Canada, UK and regional countries.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) – the government’s representative body responsible for reviewing and approving large-scale business operations – reported an increase in approved investment projects in 2023, rising to 268 from 186 in 2022.

The number includes investments in the footwear and related articles sector. 

Chea Chandara, president of the Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association (LOSCBA), noted a recovery in the transportation of goods to international markets and an increase in the number of companies establishing factories in the country, citing growing opportunities in export markets.

“The recent increase in factory openings and overseas shipping activities signifies that exports of various goods to international markets are set to continue rising,” he said. 

In 2022, the export value of goods in the HS Code 64 category totalled $1.74 billion, a 24.8% increase from $1.39 billion in 2021, accounting for approximately 7.7% of the Kingdom’s total exports of $22.48 billion, as per the GDCE.