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Japan trade surges 7.8% to $633M in first quarter

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The Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) listed garments, electrical and electronic components as key Cambodian exports to Japan, and machinery and high-tech products as main imports. FRESH NEWS

Japan trade surges 7.8% to $633M in first quarter

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan reached $633.12 million in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 7.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, according to data from state-run agency Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).

The Kingdom exported $489.62 million worth of goods in January-March, up by 2.9 per cent year-on-year from $475.76 million, and imported $143.50 million, up by 28.5 per cent from $111.71 million, the figures released last week show.

Cambodia’s trade surplus with Japan contracted by 4.9 per cent to $346.12 million, from $364.05 million.

Jetro listed garments, electrical and electronic components as key Cambodian exports to Japan, and machinery and high-tech products as main imports.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on May 23 that trade between the two countries escaped the wrath of Covid-19, and was lifted by a number of vital factors, such as deepening diplomatic ties, the Kingdom’s high-productivity labour force and a large production capacity in both countries.

With its vast market and position as a developed country, Japan offers the Kingdom ample opportunity to lure in Japanese investors to build factories and produce goods for export, hence adding impetus to Cambodia’s economic growth, he said.

“It’s not concerning to me that the data showed a higher increase in imports from Japan than exports, the [trade] balance is still in very positive territory,” he said, stressing the importance of the simultaneous increase in imports/exports and hailing it as a success story for both countries amid the continuing spread of Covid-19.

He predicted that the surge in imports from Japan may have been driven by the current high demand of machinery, electronics and high-tech products.

On a positive note, Vanak said Cambodia needs to buckle down further to diversify its production and gain market share in international trade, and enter countries where it has none.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy said the Kingdom’s export figures are poised to soar once the domestic coronavirus spread is brought under control, adding that the government is allocating more resources to maximise the potential of the transport sector, trimming down costs as well as travel and delivery times.

“The trade volume between the two countries will be even more positive in 2021, especially when travel and transportation pick back up,” he said, adding that the resumption of regular flights between Cambodia and Japan would not only bring more Japanese tourists to the Kingdom, but also bolster trade.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan was worth $2.10178 billion last year, down 8.35 per cent from 2019, data from Jetro show.

Cambodia exported $1.61708 billion worth of merchandise to Japan last year, down 6.6 per cent, and imported $484.70 million, down 13.8 per cent. The Kingdom’s trade surplus with Japan was $1.13238 billion.

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