The Kingdom exported $2.410 billion worth of garments, footwear and travel goods in the first quarter of this year, shrinking 6.48 per cent from the $2.577 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2020, according to data from the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia.
Analysed by category, garments fell 6.43 per cent from $1.897 to $1.775 billion, footwear slumped 7.33 per cent from $341 to $316 million, and travel goods – including suitcases, backpacks, handbags and wallets – declined 5.89 per cent from $339 to $319 million.
Cambodia Footwear Association president Ly Kunthai told The Post on May 5 that the ongoing global Covid-19 epidemic has forced people to stay indoors and has shut down the tourism sector of each country, resulting in plummeting demand for footwear.
He said, however, that the dip in the volume of exports in the first quarter had not been as steep as in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, though he did not provide any concrete figures.
"The reason for the decline in the value of footwear exports from Cambodia in the first quarter was due to declining demand on the international market, and not related to manufacturing activities," he asserted.
He posited that coronavirus vaccination campaigns around the world, coupled with the gradual reopening of tourism in major countries, would lead to increased orders of Cambodian-made footwear starting in the second half of 2021.
"I am optimistic that orders will pick up in the coming months," he said, claiming that the Kingdom would remain a desirable investment destination, particularly in key sectors such as garments, footwear and travel goods.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika could not be reached for comment on May 5.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy noted that a shortage of empty shipping containers has increased the costs of transporting goods abroad from Cambodia since the second quarter of 2020.
Rising shipping costs are more or less affecting all orders, especially to distant destinations such as the US and Europe, he said.
"Since mid-2020, shipping costs have risen steadily, now five times higher to some destinations than in 2019” before the Covid-19 outbreak, Chanthy said.
The Kingdom exported $17.21537 billion worth of goods last year, up by 16.72 per cent from $14.74874 billion in 2019, the Ministry of Commerce said in its 2020 annual performance report.
Broken down by sector, garments ranked first in exports, reaching $7.42028 billion, down 10.24 per cent on a yearly basis, followed by footwear ($1.11673 billion, down 11.69 per cent) and travel goods ($964.7 million, down 10.58 per cent).