Exports of travel goods last year were worth $1.2 billion, twice as much as in 2018, said the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).

In a recent statement, the GMAC said the value of travel goods exports rose by 100 per cent last year. It hailed this as a remarkable achievement given that in 2016, travel goods exports were worth just $50 million.

In July 2016, the US included travel goods from Cambodia into its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

The US continues to be the largest buyer of Cambodian travel goods, accounting for about 80 per cent of all exports.

“This phenomenal growth in exports is due to the joint lobbying efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and GMAC to the US Congress that resulted in the review of the GSP in 2016,” it said.

“Looking at this success, GMAC would like to thank the Minister of Commerce for his leadership and support to make the petition a success.

“We also thank the secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and the former US ambassador for their support in helping promote further foreign direct investments in Cambodia by joining our investment promotion trip to Hong Kong in 2016.”

GMAC also thanked buyers and end-users for trusting the “made-in-Cambodia” brand.

Its secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post that the increase in exports was remarkable but that, with the industry facing serious challenges, it is not the time to rest on one’s laurels.

“Of concern moving forward is our export markets in the US and EU, which have been seriously hit by Covid-19. We don’t know how long this will last and how it will impact the economy, people’s income and consumers’ confidence.”

He said the shortage of raw materials that have beset the industry in recent months will likely end soon as China recovers from the virus.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay on Tuesday said the Kingdom is now looking to boost exports to China, South Korea and the UK.

“The government is negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea and the UK. We are in the first round of negotiations for an FTA with China,” Thay pointed out.

Cambodia exported more than $5.36 billion worth of products to the US last year, up 40.43 per cent from 2018, according to the US Census Bureau. The Kingdom imported $513 million from that market, an increase of 15.16 per cent from 2018.