Exports to Singapore rose more than five times to $415 million in the first half of 2023 from $62.4 million in the same period last year, as imports from Singapore fell 82 per cent to $371.8 million from $2.02 billion.

This brought the period’s total bilateral trade volume close to $787 million, the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) stated.

Singapore is Cambodia’s sixth largest international trading partner, after China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan.

Data by GDCE showed a trade surplus, expanding by about $43.3 million, which is a significant difference compared to the first half of 2022, when Cambodia experienced a trade deficit of nearly $2 billion.

For the month of June this year, bilateral trade between Singapore and Cambodia totalled $127.8 million, down 64.1 per cent from June 2022.

Cambodia’s exports amounted to $71.6 million, rising 1,106.2 per cent while imports from Singapore fell 2,017 per cent to $56.2 million.

Speaking to The Post, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said both countries were Southeast Asian Economic Community members and part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

He said, thanks to the double tax agreement, trade has increased, particularly the export of goods from Cambodia to Singapore.

In addition to receiving more orders from Singapore, Cambodia has also attracted more Singaporean investors to invest directly.

“I am confident that Cambodia’s exports to Singapore will continue to grow. Singapore’s imports of goods fell due to increased production capacity in Cambodia,” he said.

Lim Heng pointed out that some of the goods Cambodia exports to Singapore meet Singapore demands while some are transit goods to be shipped to international markets.

Goods that Cambodia exports to Singapore are garments, bags and shoes, electrical items and agricultural and agro-industrial products.

Singapore’s imports to Cambodia include electronics and electrical products, construction materials and some pharmaceuticals.

In a meeting between Singapore Minister of Commerce and Industry Gan Kim Yong, Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak in 2022, Singapore said it was committed to strengthening bilateral trade cooperation with Cambodia. “Singapore is committed to further trade cooperation with Cambodia,” Gan said.

According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), foreign direct investment amounted to $39 billion in the first half of 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 9.6 per cent.

At the time, Singapore’s investment of $2.4 billion placed it as the fourth largest investor, accounting for 6.4 per cent of total investments in Cambodia.

In 2022, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Singapore totalled $3.3 billion, down 36.3 per cent from 2021.

Of that total, Cambodia’s exports fell 22.8 per cent to $92.6 million. Similarly, imports from Singapore dropped 36.6 per cent to $3.3 billion.