Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom narrowing trade deficit with the US

Kingdom narrowing trade deficit with the US

Kingdom narrowing trade deficit with the US

Cambodia exported more than $1.083 billion worth of goods to the US in the first two months of this year, a sharp 46.96 per cent year-on-year increase from $737.1 million, said a US Census Bureau report.

Bilateral trade between the two countries totalled $1.136 billion during the period, up 39.96 per cent from 2019’s $812 million, the data showed. The Kingdom’s imports amounted to $53.2 million, down 28.97 per cent from 2019’s $74.9 million.

Royal Academy of Cambodia researcher Hong Vanak told The Post on Tuesday that the rise in Cambodia’s exports to the US highlights the latter as a potential market for Cambodian goods.

Despite the US’ dwindling demand for raw material in the midst of the crushing Covid-19 spread, he expressed his optimism that business activity between the countries would not be severely affected.

“During this state of affairs, I believe that US-Cambodian [trade and diplomatic] relations will remain strong,” said Vanak.

He said the Kingdom must strive to improve the quality of its products to effectively compete on the international market.

Cambodia mainly exports garments, footwear, travel materials, rice and other agricultural products to the US and imports automobiles, electronics and all types of finished products.

Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) secretary-general Kaing Monika could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

However, GMAC on March 24 issued a statement urging buyers not to suspend shipments of goods that have already been produced as well as those in production.

GMAC’s appeal comes after several key US and European buyers, including H&M, Zara, Mango, Primark, Macys and JC Penney last week announced they are halting production due to the Covid-19 spread choking global demand.

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.

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