Cambodia's total exports reached $16 billion this year, marking an increase of more than 14 per cent compared to 2019, despite the spread of Covid-19 and the resulting disruption to production and slowdown in global supply chain expansion.
The Kingdom’s trade volume with other countries stood at $32 billion, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a live press briefing on December 29, citing preliminary data.
This is down from $36.7 billion last year, according to National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) figures.
The prime minister noted that exports of the Kingdom’s seven key agricultural products clocked in at $3.881 billion. Milled rice accounted for 675,000 tonnes (up 11.11 per cent year-on-year) worth $514 million.
Shipments of cassava, cashew nuts, mango, yellow bananas and Pailin longan weighed in at seven million tonnes, 218,884 tonnes, 850,000 tonnes, 313 tonnes and 174 tonnes, respectively, valued at “more than $1 billion”, $288 million, $473 million, $551 million and $57 million, he said.
Peppercorn exports were worth $25 million, he added.
“Although [we’ve suffered from] the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, our exports remain good. We saw loads of gains in agricultural products.
“We’ll continue to expand our export markets to keep pace with our burgeoning agriculture. We’ve already penned the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP], which provides us additional access to markets such as Japan, Australia, China and New Zealand.
“And we also struck a [free trade] agreement with China and we’ll have another one with [South] Korea and then with Eurasia,” Hun Sen explained.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo said garment and footwear exports dipped 10 per cent in the first 10 months of this year.
He said: “I don’t have the full-year data yet . . . [but] the trend for 2021 will depend on the Covid-19 situation in the respective markets. Nothing much we can do.”
According to the NBC, Cambodian exports amounted to $14.53 billion and imports $22.19 billion, year-on-year increases of 12.7 per cent and 18.6 per cent, respectively.
But the Kingdom’s trade deficit with the rest of the world continued to widen last year to $7.66 billion, a 31.6 per cent increase compared to 2018.
Cambodia mainly exports garments, textiles, footwear, milled rice and bicycles, and imports raw materials for the garment and automotive sectors, fuel and construction materials.
The US was the largest market for the Kingdom’s exports last year, accounting for 29.6 per cent. Japan ranked second at 7.7 per cent, followed by Germany at 7.2 per cent, China (6.9 per cent) and the UK (6.6 per cent).
Cambodian imports last year were mostly from China, which accounted for 43.1 per cent. Thailand was second at 15.5 per cent, followed by Vietnam (13.6 per cent), Japan (4.7 per cent) and South Korea (3.4 per cent).