Cambodia’s international trade volume declines, but export growth bucks the trend​


[INNEWS Comprehensive Report] Cambodian Customs released a report stating that in the first eight months of 2023, Cambodia’s trade volume with international partners was nearly US$32 billion, a drop of more than 14%. However, Cambodia’s exports continued to grow.

The report shows that from January to August this year, Cambodia’s total import and export of goods with all trading partners was nearly US$32 billion, a decrease of 14.52% from more than US$37 billion in the same period in 2022. Among them, Cambodia’s exports to the international market were US$15.69 billion, an increase of 0.32%, while imports were more than US$16 billion, a decrease of 25.2%. Cambodia’s trade deficit is close to US$588 million, and in the same period in 2022, Cambodia’s trade deficit will continue to exceed US$6 billion.

Lim Heng, vice chairman of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said that the negative signs in the international trade situation are the result of a combination of factors, especially the crisis between the two countries, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, and the geopolitical conflict between major powers. However, there are positive signs for Cambodian exports. Although the increase is not large, it shows that Cambodian commodities have stronger support.

He said that many countries are experiencing a downward trend in international trade, and what needs to be focused on now is the growth of Cambodian exports, because the quality and variety of Cambodian products, as well as their prices, are also competitive.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the Institute of International Relations of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the decline in international trade is a global problem, but he is interested in the growth of Cambodian exports at a time when the world economy is facing a crisis. The reason for the increase in Cambodian exports is the high quality and competitive prices of Cambodian goods. And part of the reason for the increase in Cambodia’s exports is the export of agricultural products, which are in high demand in the international market.

He said this was an opportunity for Cambodia to explore possibilities and more diversify its exports. In addition to the past exports of textiles and electronic components, agricultural products are becoming an important part of Cambodia’s exports.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs of Cambodia, Cambodia’s international trade volume will exceed US$52.4 billion in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 9.2% in 2021, exceeding US$48 billion. Cambodia’s export revenue to the international market exceeded US$22.4 billion, an increase of 16.4%, and Cambodia’s imports from the international market were nearly US$30 billion, an increase of 4.3%.