The United States is Cambodia’s single largest export destination, and Cambodia’s exports to the United States continue to grow. Access to U.S. markets provides significant economic opportunities for Cambodian companies and good jobs for Cambodian workers.
In 2018, Cambodia exported $3.8 billion worth of goods to the United States and imported $400 million worth of American goods.
The share of the U.S. market for Cambodia’s garments and footwear exports rose to 30% in 2018, up from 25% the year before. And, already, through the first five months of 2019, Cambodia has exported nearly $1.5 billion to the United States – a record amount.
Cambodia began receiving duty-free access to America in 1997 under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
In 2016, travel goods were added to the GSP program, a move that helped develop a major new industry and led to significant new investment in Cambodia.
In 2018, $392 million worth of travel goods were exported to the United States, amounting to 10% of Cambodia’s total U.S. exports. In 2019, that number will exceed $600 million.
In addition, a significant number of U.S. businesses have invested in Cambodia. One of the most visible U.S. investments is a $100 million world-class bottling plant by Coca-Cola that opened in 2016.
Other investments have been made in the food and beverage industry, tourism, precious gems, agriculture and dairy, sporting equipment, as well as education and health.
U.S. franchises in Cambodia are expanding as rapidly as Cambodia’s economy.
Today they include KFC, Burger King, Swensen’s Grill and Ice Cream, Circle K, Krispy Kreme, Domino’s Pizza, Dairy Queen, Chem-Dry, Auntie Anne’s, Carl’s Junior, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks Coffee, Harley-Davidson, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Hard Rock Cafe.
U.S. companies that invest in Cambodia bring with them world-class training programs, promote skills transfer, and support high environmental and labour standards and leading-edge technologies.
U.S. companies also bring far-reaching corporate social responsibly (CSR) programs.
In 2018 alone, American CSR initiatives supported medical services for rural Cambodians, promoted environmental programs that brought clean drinking water to thousands of people, trained young and rural Cambodians on business best practices, as well as dozens of other activities.