In the first month of 2024, exports of Cambodian-made goods to international markets saw a considerable uptick, reaching nearly $2 billion.

This represents an increase of nearly 30% compared to the same period in 2023. The country’s total trade volume was worth more than $4 billion, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

In January, the country’s exports amounted to $1.97 billion, marking a rise of 27% compared to $1.55 billion in January 2023. Imports were valued at $2.09 billion, surging by 8.7% from $1.92 billion. 

International trade for January totalled $4.06 billion, expanding by 16.9% from $3.47 billion in the same month of 2023.

Cambodia's trade deficit for the period stood at roughly $123.09 million, significantly lower than the $373.89 million recorded in the same period last year. 

The Kingdom's main trading partners include China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Canada, as per the GDCE.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, told The Post on February 12 that the gradual recovery of global economic growth, in line with increasing production capacity, has led to an appreciable rise in the volume of trade with partner countries. 

He noted that the value of the country’s exports increased sizably in the first month of the year and anticipated that the volume of international trade would continue to grow in the future.

Heng explained that the boost in export value could be attributed to two primary factors: firstly, the expansion in domestic production capacity, driven by the growth of factories and enterprises, as well as the rise in agricultural output. 

Secondly, Cambodia's substantial export market, which gains from preferential tariffs offered by various countries, and the implementation of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements [FTAs] that the country has entered into.

"I am confident that the value of exports will continue to increase this year, as Cambodia now has a wide range of products for export, while the reputation, quality and price of Cambodian goods are also very competitive,” he said.

According to Heng, the country is now exporting not only textile products but also agricultural goods, electrical equipment, electronic components and various daily necessities.

Ly Khun Thai, president of the Cambodian Footwear Association, noted that in 2023, exports of textiles saw a pronounced decline. However, he said the situation began to show positive signs towards the end of the year. 

He added that as a producer and exporter, the country has sufficient capacity to produce goods to meet international market needs. 

“The easing of the global political and economic crisis has led to a gradual resumption of order power. Because Cambodia has enough resources to produce goods according to buyers’ demands, I believe that the export of goods from Cambodia … in 2024 will exceed that of 2023,” he said.

Khun Thai noted that during the recent challenging conditions, the country managed to attract many local and international investors to establish businesses or factories.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance's Budget in Brief for the current fiscal year projects the Kingdom’s economy to grow at around 6.6%. The expansion is expected to bring the current gross domestic product (GDP) to around 142.957 trillion riel (approximately $35.13 billion). 

International reserves for 2024 are projected at $21.28 billion, up from an estimated $19.44 billion in 2023 and $17.8 billion in 2022, as per the ministry.