The US remains the world’s biggest buyer of Cambodian goods, accounting for a 41.36 per cent market share in January-July 2022, buoyed by the Kingdom’s relatively low levels of production disruption and eligibility for preferential trade arrangements. However, local opinions are split on what ramifications a potential recession in the US could have for trade with the country.
During the period, Cambodian exports to the US reached $5.696 billion, up 47.28 per cent year-on-year, and imports $196.700 million, up 3.17 per cent according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). Bilateral trade amounted to $5.893 billion, up 45.21 per cent, and the Kingdom’s trade surplus with the US expanded 49.57 per cent to $5.499 billion.
Of note, in July alone, Cambodian exports to the US were worth $1.047 billion, representing a 43.82 per cent share of the Kingdom’s total exports of $2.391 billion.
Speaking to The Post on August 25, Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng attributed the surge in exports to a diversion of orders from other countries to the Kingdom forced by obstacles preventing businesses there from fully resuming production, as well as the eligibility of certain Cambodian goods for the US’ Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The GSP lapsed on December 31, 2020 however, and has yet to be reauthorised.
The CCC vice-president underscored that Cambodia has benefited from the ongoing US-China trade row as well as political crises in nations that are now or at one point were significant suppliers of goods to the US market.
Heng added that Cambodian exports to the US are shifting away from traditional commodities, such as textile-linked goods, towards bicycles, electrical equipment, agricultural products and solar panels, in a diversification trend he predicted would further drive up figures.
Recently, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the apex garment makers’ body, voiced concern over declining foreign orders, with the US as the largest market, amid fears and talks of a broad global recession.
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Author: Hin Pisei
Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date: 26 August 2022