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Kingdom-US trade nearly $7 billion in 2020

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Garment workers at factory in Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. Cambodian mainly exported garments, footwear, bags and electronic components to the US, while automobiles, electronics and other finished products made up the bulk of imports. Hong Menea

Kingdom-US trade nearly $7 billion in 2020

Bilateral trade between the Kingdom and the US amounted to $6.9213 billion in 2020, up 17.89 per cent from 2019, data from the US Census Bureau show.

The export value of Cambodian goods was $6.5777 billion, up 22.79 per cent from the $5.3568 billion posted in 2019, while goods imported from the US were worth $343.6 million, down 33.15 per cent from $514 million.

Cambodian mainly exported garments, footwear, bags and electronic components to the US, while automobiles, electronics and other finished products made up the bulk of imports.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Pen Sovicheat chalked up the uptick in export figures to continued booming demand from the US market for Cambodian consumer goods such as clothes, bicycles, electrical equipment, bags and luggage, now seemingly unfazed by the ongoing pandemic.

As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Cambodia pays customs duty to the US at the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rate under the organisation’s rules, he said.

Moreover, he said the Kingdom is also a recipient of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits on certain items – such as travel bags – which he said buoyed last year’s trade statistics.

“We are optimistic that the GSP will continue. Our country is still a least developed country [LDC] and maintains strong diplomatic and economic relations with the US,” Sovicheat said.

Hong Vanak, director of Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Economics Department, told The Post on February 7 that revenue from exports to the US has seen a steady climb, even last year as the world battled an international trade crisis set on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that the tariff breaks provided through the US’ GSP has reeled in copious amounts of investors to set up factories in Cambodia and manufacture a range of goods for export to the US market.

“Despite being submerged in the Covid-19 crisis, Cambodia’s exports to the US market have remained positive. The US is an important market for Cambodian exports, especially travel and textile products,” Vanak said.

On the other hand, he pointed out that many factories in the US remain shuttered or suspended, resulting in Cambodian imports from the US to contract by nearly one-third.

Even as GSP awaits congressional reauthorisation after it lapsed on December 31 prior to the presidential inauguration, Vanak said trade with the US was likely to extend into this year on the back of strong confidence in investment in Cambodia.

In 2018, Cambodian exports to the US were to the tune of just $3.8065 billion, and imports clocked in at $445.9 million, according to the US Census Bureau.

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