Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan for the first 10 months of last year was worth $1.7484 billion, down 8.06 per cent from the $1.9018 billion posted in the same period of 2019, according to the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
Local businesses and researchers have attributed the decline to the ongoing Sino-US trade war and the spread of the Covid-19 disease.
Cambodian exports for the period stood at $1.3582 billion, down 6.8 per cent year-on-year, while imports ended at $390.26 million, down 12.3 per cent year-on-year, Jetro data show.
In October alone, the Kingdom’s exports were valued at $147.53 million, down 16 per cent year-on-year, while imports clocked in at $59.92 million, up 9.3 per cent year-on-year.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics, Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on January 4 that coupled with Covid-19, the Sino-US trade row had stymied a number of the Kingdom’s exports.
While international trade figures trickled down across the globe, he said most countries logged a steady increase in production that aims to meet the needs of their populations, especially when it comes to agricultural products.
“These results are shared across almost every country in the world – no one wants to spend money, so the import and export of products has also fallen accordingly,” Vanak said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said Covid-19 has slowed the economy to a crawl and decelerated international trade activity in all countries.
But with more countries announcing the launch of Covid-19 vaccine campaigns, he said global trade activity is expected to recover this year.
“Trade with Japan will in all likelihood pick up once direct flights between the two countries resumes – they were cancelled to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Japan will remain a potential market for Cambodian products,” Heng said.
He listed notable Cambodian exports to Japan as garments and simple-assembly electric and electronic components.
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on December 31 forecast that the Kingdom’s economic growth will return to four per cent growth this year if Covid-19 vaccines can successfully curtail the spread in the first half.
Accelerating the diversification of the economic base and the implementation of industrial development strategies will help Cambodia’s economy recover faster from the pandemic, it said in its Macroeconomic and Banking Progress 2020 Report and 2021 Outlook.