Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trade deficit with South Korea widens 43%

Trade deficit with South Korea widens 43%

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Kita figures show that Cambodia-South Korea trade amounted to $884.88 million in 2020, from $1.032 billion in 2019. Heng Chivoan

Trade deficit with South Korea widens 43%

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea was worth $552.1 million in the first seven months of this year, growing by nearly 11 per cent on a yearly basis from $498.75 million, according to the Korea International Trade Association (Kita).

In the January-July period, Cambodian exports to South Korea were valued at $188.2 million, inching up by 0.2 per cent year-on-year from $187.80 million, while imports were $364.0 million, surging by 17 per cent from $310.94 million.

This means that the trade deficit widened nearly 43 per cent on a yearly basis from $123.1 million to $176 million.

Kita listed Cambodia’s main exports to South Korea as garments, footwear, travel products, beverages, electrical and electronic components, rubber, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products; and major imports as vehicles, electronics, kitchen appliances, beverages, pharmaceuticals, raw materials and finished plastics and products.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on August 24 that the simultaneous increase in value of imports and exports was an encouraging sign, saying growth is expected to accelerate when the two countries ratify a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) after negotiations concluded early this year.

He shrugged off the widening Cambodian trade deficit with South Korea as an inconsequential statistic, pointing out that a substantial proportion of imports from the East Asian country are raw materials or components used in industry to process goods for export to markets around the world.

“A concern would be not to have enough money to import key items to support production and export to international markets,” Heng said.

Meanwhile, Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the concurrent surge in imports and exports offer some consolation, even if growth rates and the trade balance lean in South Korea’s favour.

With a trade deficit encroaching on 50 per cent, the Kingdom must go all-out to diversify its products and gear up to capitalise on the opportunities and advantages presented by the FTA when it comes into force, he emphasised.

“In order to narrow the trade gap, Cambodia should further consider increasing cooperation with stakeholders, domestically and in Korea, to identify and explore Cambodian products that can be exported to South Korea,” Vanak said.

Kita figures show that Cambodia-South Korea trade amounted to $884.88 million in 2020, from $1.032 billion in 2019.

Cambodia exported more than $317 million of goods to the South Korean market in 2020, which was down by 5.4 per cent year-on-year, and imported over $567 million, plunging by 18.6 per cent over 2019.


  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Siem Reap action plan for tourism in motion

    The action plan for the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan (2022-2023), focusing on six priority destinations, has been implemented to boost tourism and regain pre-Covid tourist numbers in the province. The action plan sets out 17 strategies and 37 implementation activities for: Angkor Archaeological Park, Phnom