Cambodia exported just over $191.3 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the first half of this year, a 130 per cent rise from the $83.3 million recorded last year.
The exports were largely driven by Covid-19 fears and a shortage of such equipment, the General Department of Customs and Excise said.
Face mask exports for the six months ended June were valued at $2.5 million. No figure exists for the same period in 2019.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Cambodia is currently 248 as of Sunday, of which 217 have recovered, the Ministry of Health said. The Kingdom and Laos remain the only countries in ASEAN to not record a single fatality caused by the disease.
Keo Mom, the CEO of the newly-incorporated Lyly Global Co Ltd – a local plant that produces face masks under the “SAFFI” brand – told The Post on Sunday that Covid-19-fuelled demand led to her company doubling its face mask production.
“My factory remains a small-scale operation with no exports as of yet. But the raging demand for face masks on the domestic market during Covid-19 has driven our sales to double what they were just a couple months back,” she said.
Lyly Global, she said, is actively looking for partners to export to the international market. “We are highly thrilled to see that nearly $200 million worth of Cambodian [PPE] products were shipped out – that’s a monumental figure.
“We welcome all potential clients that want to purchase our face masks and sell them internationally,” Mom said.
Lyly Global was incorporated on April 9, and is located in Dangkor district’s Prey Sar commune in Phnom Penh.
There are seven factories and seven handicrafts workshop that are either in the application process or are currently producing face masks and other PPE, data from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation show.
The factories are cumulatively able to manufacture 138 million face masks, about 20.7 million medical gowns and some 9.6 million medical caps monthly.
The data show their export destinations as being China, Japan, the US and Europe.
In May, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said the government had granted a request made by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to allow the export of all kinds of infectious disease prevention items amid the pandemic.
The government will support and encourage garment factories to produce face masks, medical equipment and medical clothing designed to prevent communicable diseases, which are to be sold domestically and internationally as the pandemic spurs global demand for PPEs, it said.
In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government needed at least 10 million masks and at least 5,000 pieces of medical clothing to effectively combat the coronavirus.
Cambodia exported $190.9 million worth of medical equipment last year, the Customs and Excise department reported.