The US absorbed more than 44 per cent of Cambodia’s over-USD 20-billion total non-gold exports in 2022, remain the largest market destination, ahead of EU, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The ministry’s 2022 Socio-Economic Trends report indicates that non-gold exports USD 20.3441 billion last year, up 16.7 per cent from the 2021 figure – given as USD 17.440 billion in the previous edition of the report – buoyed by increases in products such as textile-related items, bicycles and milled rice.
The US accounted for 44.1 per cent of that, followed by the EU (19.9%), ASEAN (6.7%), China (6.1%), Japan (5.8%), and the UK (4.4%), while 13.2 per cent was attributed to other markets, the report said without providing value figures.
However, expressing figures by their possible ranges of values given these percentages – so as to account for rounding errors – the exports can be broken down by market thusly: the US (USD 8.961-8.982 billion), EU (USD 4.038-4.059 billion), ASEAN (USD 1.352-1.374 billion), China (USD 1.230-1.252 billion), Japan (USD 1.169-1.191 billion), the UK (USD 884.966-905.315 million) and other (USD 2.675-2.696 billion).
Non-gold Cambodian exports to the US were up 19.63-20.20 per cent from USD 7.472-7.491 billion in 2021.
For comparison, Customs (GDCE) put Cambodian merchandise exports to the US at USD 8.969 billion, up 19.74 per cent over USD 7.490 billion in 2021.
“With the current momentum of the recent recovery of economic activities, the perspectives on the Cambodian economy [are] showing positive signs, especially [in production,] which [reflect] the continuous growth in industrial production, garments, and non-garment exports,” the report said.
“In addition, the implementation [of the] ‘Strategic Framework and Programs for Economic Recovery in the Context of Living with Covid-19 in a New Normal 2021-2023’ is expected to accelerate key growth drivers including garment [and] non-garment [manufacturing], tourism and agriculture,” it added.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng commented that the vast amounts of Cambodian merchandise sold to US each year are driven by: a robust production base that makes goods meeting desired quality standards; duty-free access under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP); and the Sino-US trade row and the associated tariffs.
Although general Cambodian merchandise exports to the US appear to have gotten off to a rocky start this year – falling 20.22 per cent on-year to USD 1.130 billion in the January-February period, as per the GDCE – Heng is fairly confident that value and market-share figures will be higher by end-2023 than a year prior, given the size and potential of the American market.
Major Cambodian exports to the US include: textile-related items such as garments, travel bags, footwear; bicycles; electric and electronic components; and agricultural products, according to him.
The US is not the only priority international market for Cambodian goods. “Europe is a large market that orders tonnes of goods from Cambodia,” he said, noting that the Kingdom benefits from the 27-nation EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) preferential trade scheme.