Cambodia exported more than $7.97 billion worth of garment, textile and footwear (GTF) products in the first nine months of this year, up 13.18 per cent year-on-year from $7.044 billion, a report from the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Customs and Excise said.
The US accounted for $2.5 billion of the exports and the EU $2.4 billion – with $670 million going to the UK, Japan $711 million, Asean member states $121 million and other countries $1.5 billion, the report said.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post on Tuesday that the Kingdom’s GTF product exports performed well in the first nine months of this year.
“I can only say that [exports] depend on many factors combined. We just need to keep working hard and smart and keep up the reforms to stay competitive,” he said.
On December 31 last year, the government announced that those wishing to export their goods to the EU under the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement are required to register in the EU’s Registered Exporter System (REX) to self-certify the Statement on Origin of their goods instead of applying for a Certificate of Origin.
Monika said: “They [exporters] just have to make a declaration to the Ministry of Commerce for their exports in a one-month timeframe, and some factories failed to do so.
“Because of that, the Ministry of Commerce’s [GTF product export] data for the first six months was low and export value to the EU was wrongly seen as a drop of about six per cent.
“Worse still, the media wrongly quoted our secretary-general as saying $600 million instead of six per cent,” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng attributed the growth in exports to the rise in the number of investors in the sector over the last few years.
“Most of the Chinese factories that come to Cambodia help boost our exports. It’s a good sign that the country’s economy is growing fast,” he said.
Last month, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team visited Cambodia for 12 days for discussions on the 2019 Article IV consultation, which analyses the economic developments and policies of member countries.
Despite ongoing Sino-US trade tensions and facing a possible suspension of its access to the EU’s EBA agreement, the Kingdom’s economic activity will remain strong with real gross domestic product growth expected at around seven per cent this year.
This is owing to continued export growth and strong construction activity. Inflation is expected to remain stable at around 2.5 per cent, the IMF said.
“Cambodia’s economic outlook is positive, although there are significant downside risks. Stable macroeconomic environment, strong growth performance and ongoing structural reforms have contributed to significant progress towards Sustainable Development Goals,” it said.
The National Bank of Cambodia’s 2018 report said the Kingdom’s garment and footwear exports were valued at $10 billion – up 24 per cent from $8 billion in 2017.