Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period.
Bilateral trade between the Kingdom and the US amounted to $2.4883 billion during the period, representing an 18.82 per cent gain compared to the $2.094 billion reached in the same period last year, data from the US Census Bureau show.
The export value of Cambodian goods during the period was $2.363 billion, compared to 2019’s $1.8762 billion, and goods imported from the US were worth $125.3 million, down 42.47 per cent from $217.8 million.
In May alone, bilateral trade volume between the two countries totalled $355.9 million, or a 19.55 per cent dip on a yearly basis from $442.4 million.
Of this, the Kingdom exported $338.8 million worth of goods, falling 13.59 per cent year-on-year from $392.1 million, and imported $17.1 million, sinking 66.08 per cent from $50.3 million.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on Tuesday that nearly all products made in Cambodia for export are in high demand in the US, citing the near 26 per cent rise in exports.
He said the volume of Cambodian exports to the US and bilateral trade between the countries will remain robust through Covid-19 headwinds to the end of this year.
“The value of Cambodian goods exports to the US this year will likely outpace last year’s levels, reinforced by the US reopening large parts of its markets following the temporary closures to prevent outbreaks of Covid-19,” he said.
He dismissed May’s figures as a brief setback, saying: “That’s because the US temporarily suspended most of its orders as the country suffered Covid-19 outbreaks, but the situation has returned to normal.
Cambodia has begun to see a rebound in orders from all of its trade partners, he said with emphasis on the US and European markets.
The Kingdom mainly exports garments, footwear, travel goods and electronic components to the US and imports automobiles, electronics and finished products.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak said Covid-19 had a considerable impact on international trade in all countries.
Acknowledging the increase in trade volume in the first five months of the year, he highlighted the 19.55 per cent year-on-year drop seen in May.
Vanak said: “The data on Cambodia’s export growth is as it is because most of the orders were made by the end of 2019. The money rose accordingly.
“At any rate, come May, trade between the two countries took a sharp downward turn, which is solely due to the spread of Covid-19 in the US.”
He noted the recent bleak outlooks for the US in the near future, with the health crisis largely expected to gain steam and crush the Kingdom’s prospects for a prompt recovery in orders from the country.
“If the Covid-19 situation continues to aggravate, the downswing in US orders will persist beyond May.
“[But] I am still optimistic that trade relations between the two countries will remain cordial, as long as the US market recognises the quality of Cambodian products.”
Bilateral trade between the two countries totalled $5.8708 billion last year, up 38.05 per cent compared to $4.2524 billion in 2018, data from the Office of the US Trade Representative show.