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Kingdom-US trade strong in first four months, but expected to taper off

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Growth is set to slow in the following months as the US market closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading its companies to cancel their orders with the Kingdom’s factories. FRESH NEWS

Kingdom-US trade strong in first four months, but expected to taper off

Two-way trade between Cambodia and the US in the first four months of the year increased 29.31 per cent to $2.1 billion compared with $1.65 during the same period last year, US Census Bureau data show.

The export value of Cambodian goods during the period was $2.0242 billion, an increase of 36.66 per cent compared to 2019’s $1.4811 billion, and goods imported from the US were worth $108.2 million, down 35.4 per cent from $167.5 million.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on Monday that export growth during the period was due to the fact that the US did not see a significant outbreak of the Covid-19 disease until February.

The Kingdom’s factories continued to fulfil orders from US companies well into the period until the mass cancellation of orders began, he said.

“It is a pride of Cambodia to maintain bilateral trade growth, especially large exports to the US, which is a big market for Cambodian exports,” said Heng.

He said the surge in exports during the period was also largely due to abundant availability of raw material for production in Cambodia.

But growth is set to slow in the following months as the US market closed in response to the pandemic, leading its companies to cancel their orders with the Kingdom’s factories, he said, adding that trade may recover once the disease tapers off in the US and the economy fully reopens.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak said improved economic and political relations have kept Cambodia-US trade going smoothly.

However, he said the two countries’ bilateral trade volume would slow down due to internal US factors, such as the outbreak and the protests over the May 25 death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis, which have paralysed the country.

“US orders will be down due to the continued spread of the Covid-19 disease and the political turmoil caused by the protests in the last few weeks,” he said.

Vanak said he was optimistic that “if the political situation in the US improves in line with the coming of winter, with demand for more clothes, footwear and materials, then I expect some recovery”.

The trade volume between the two countries totalled $5.8708 billion last year, up 38.05 per cent compared to $4.2524 billion in 2018, US Census Bureau data show.

Cambodia’s exports to the US were $5.3568 billion last year, compared to $3.8065 billion in 2018, while imports were $514 million, compared to $445.9 million in 2018.

The Kingdom was the US’ 66th largest trading partner last year.

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