Overall Export Values Rise; Garments Slow

The value of goods exported by Cambodia increased nearly 17 percent to $8.03 billion in 2015, ac­cording to a Ministry of Commerce report released this week.

Garment exports slowed to a 7 percent increase, though they con­tinued to drive overall growth, accounting for almost three-quarters of all exports. Footwear and rice exports grew 22 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

An entrance to the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
An entrance to the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The European Union remained Cambodia’s top export destination—accounting for more than 40 percent of total exports last year, followed by the U.S., Canada and Ja­pan. Shipments to the U.S. fell slight­ly, with the value of rice exports to the U.S. tumbling nearly 60 percent.

Srey Chanthy, an independent economist, said that a stronger dollar had made Cambodian prod­ucts less competitive.

“When the Cambodian economy is dollarized, and the dollar is strengthened, exports are affected,” he said. “When the Thai baht is cheaper than the dollar, $1 can buy more Thai rice.”

Although garments accounted for almost 70 percent of Cambo­dia’s export value last year, Ken Loo, secretary general of the Gar­ment Man­ufacturers Association in Cam­bodia, noted that the growth rate was lower than the 10 percent in previous years.

“[This] was because the industry got effects from illegal protests and wage increases,” Mr. Loo said. “Illegal protests need to be stopped…. The minimum wage should be raised little, or depending on productivity.”

“And it would be very helpful if the union law is implemented ef­fectively,” he added.

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