A vendor carts merchandise across the Thai-Cambodian border at the Poipet crossing last year. Photo by: Sovan Philong
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 15:00 May Kunmakara
CAMBODIA’S total exports rose around 25 percent in 2010, compared to a year earlier, according to an annual report released by Ministry of Commerce yesterday.
Revealed at the ministry’s annual meeting, presided over by Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh and Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, the data showed the value of exports rose to US$3.494 billion in 2010, from $2.791 billion the year previous.
Officials cited market diversification and enhanced export opportunities in existing markets as reasons for growth.
“We had tried to keep [exports] into existing markets, while trying to diversify into the new markets – via strengthening cooperation in the sub-region, region and the globe,” Cham Prasidh said in a speech.
He also attributed growth to an improvement in regulations and business matching activities, increased local and international trade fairs, and the development of special economic zones.
“These became the firm base to maintain production and trade stability while our country has not escaped from challenges of global financial crisis. It [trade growth] is not an easy and simple process and requires us to make more effort.”
The report stated that Cambodia’s exports of garments, textile, shoes and other such products rose more than 27 percent year-on-year in 2010 to $3.403 billion from $2.670 billion.
A country-by-country breakdown showed that garment exports to the United States reached $1.844 billion in 2010, an increase of 21.39 percent. European Union garment exports rose 27.17 percent to $914 million, Canada went up 42.75 percent to $282 million, and exports to other markets increased 145 percent to $363 million.
Cambodia exported 44,718 tonnes of milled rice to China, the Philippines, Africa, USA, EU members and other Asian countries in 2010, said Cham Prasidh. While Keat Chhon urged the MoC to continue to export under the European Union's Generalised System of Preference/Most Favourable Nation scheme, which allows certain products to enter the EU duty-fee. He added that exploring new markets were crucial for future growth.
“To continue enlarging market opportunity for Cambodian products is an important task.
“Cambodia has to do it in order to assure its competitiveness in the region and the world,” he said.
“I think that Ministry of Commerce should play more active role especially to overcome challenges [caused by the crisis] in both national and international trade to convert them into a golden opportunity for economic growth.”
The Kingdom’s total imports also rose around 28 percent year-on-year to $4.778 billion in 2010 from $3.740 billion.
Cambodia's main import remained raw materials for the garment industry.
Raw materials were worth $2.174 billion in 2010, up from $1.507 billion the year previous. The value of construction materials increased 23 percent to $246 million in 2010 over 2009. Petroleum imports increased in value by 47 percent to $662 million, and 562,529 vehicles worth $252 million were imported during 2010.
“We’re very proud to see the country has gotten away from the crisis,” said Cham Prasidh. “Now, we can say that the business climate in Cambodia is much better compared with last year.”