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Cambodia, Japan bilateral trade reaches $1B in first half

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Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd and Japanese firm Kameda Seika Co Ltd officially launched their joint venture factory last week. HIN PISEI

Cambodia, Japan bilateral trade reaches $1B in first half

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan reached more than $1 billion in the first half of this year, up 16 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).

Cambodia’s exports to Japan in the first half of this year grew 12 per cent year-on-year to more than $792 million, as imports grew 34 per cent year-on-year to $256 million, the data showed.

Two-way trade between the two countries in the first six months of last year reached $897 million, with the Kingdom’s exports at more than $706 million and imports at $191 million.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said trade relations between the countries have gradually shown signs of progress as Japanese firms increase investment in the Kingdom, especially in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“Most of the products that Japanese investors invest in within the Kingdom’s SEZs are exported to Japan.

“Because Japan is a good market for Cambodian products, it’s in our best interest to strive to increase exports there,” said Heng.

The majority of Cambodia’s exports to Japan are clothing, footwear, components, electronics and bicycles. The Kingdom’s imports mainly comprise of electronics and finished products.

According to a National Bank of Cambodia report, the Kingdom’s total exports were $6.8 billion in the first half of this year, with Japan the fourth highest export destination with a market share of 7.7 per cent.

The Kingdom’s total imports were $10.5 billion during the period, of which Japanese imports comprised 4.5 per cent, said the report.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, which last week launched a $16 million joint venture factory with Japanese rice cracker maker Kameda Seika Co Ltd, said her company had previously been unable to export to Japan due to limited production capacity.

However, she said that through cooperation with the Japanese firm, Ly Ly Food Industry now has the potential to export there.

“Japan is a big market which is simply overlooked. [We are now] studying options to export cracker products there,” she said.

In an effort to increase business and tourist cooperation between the two countries, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways Co Ltd has been operating direct flights to the Kingdom since 2016.

Last week, the Minister of Tourism called on Japan investors to invest more in the Kingdom’s tourism industry.