Cambodian exports topped more than $10 billion in the first 10 months of this year, thanks largely to a boost in garment, textile and footwear (GTF) exports, according to a government report.
The Ministry of Commerce report showed that total exports rose 6.45 per cent to $10.8 billion, up from $10.14 billion in the same period last year.
According to breakdowns of the data, garment exports totalled $6.4 billion, footwear ($905 million) and textiles ($40 million).
Rice and other goods totalled more than $286 million and more than $3.1 billion respectively.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said during opening remarks at the ministry’s annual meeting on Wednesday that the government was committed to further increasing the number of Cambodian goods available abroad.
“The negotiation of free trade zones and the expansion of international trade partnerships are being looked at,” Sorasak said.
The ministry is continuing to strengthen the production chain and diversify markets with further Asean integration, he added.
Sorasak stressed that the government was “taking great care” to address issues of intellectual property rights, consumer protection, counterfeit products and services, and the optimisation of controls to make the Kingdom more competitive regionally.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia chairman Vann Sou Leng credited the ministry for introducing measures to keep the sector competitive, but he warned that the industry could face risk without government support to keep down costs.
“Regionally, we are seeing costs increase rapidly, which requires tradeoffs from other areas such as efficiency and cost management. With more consumers demanding shorter lead times, our limited local supply chain needs policies to support it.
“Internationally, we see fears of a US-China trade war and Brexit slowing the global economy, while there is the threat of the EU withdrawing its Everything But Arms scheme [from Cambodia]. Meanwhile, the business environment is rapidly changing and consumers are becoming more demanding, with our costs increasing due to better labour, social and environmental compliance.
“There is much more to be done to respond to the rapidly changing global environment. The ministry will have to continue to be innovative and well informed on global trends, and develop strategies to adapt and change where situations require,” Sou Leng said.
Cambodia Rice Federation secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Wednesday that the Kingdom’s rice exports to the global market topped more than 510, 000 tonnes in the first 11 months of this year, up 3.4 per cent on the same period last year.
Lun Yeng contributed the growth to demand from China and further expansion into the Asean and Australian markets.