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Cambodia-Canada trade slips 24% in H1

Freight transport at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on April 25.
Freight transport at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on April 25. Hong Menea

Cambodia-Canada trade slips 24% in H1

The volume of merchandise traded between Cambodia and Canada stood at $444.608 million in the first half (H1) of 2023, down 23.74 per cent from $583.037 million in 2022H1 and down 22.19 per cent from $571.43 million in 2022H2, according to Customs (GDCE).

Cambodia’s exports to the world’s ninth-largest economy accounted for 93.79 per cent of that, reaching $416.995 million, down 26.74 per cent year-on-year from $569.194 million and down 24.4 per cent half-on-half from $551.40 million, provisional GDCE data compiled in “International Merchandise Trade Statistics” bulletins indicate.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s imports from the world’s second-largest country by total area came in at $27.613 million, up 99.5 per cent year-on-year from $13.843 million and up 37.8 per cent half-on-half from $20.03 million.

The Kingdom recorded a trade surplus – the amount by which a country’s exports exceed its imports – of $389.382 million with the Group of 20 (G20) member for 2023H1, narrowing by 29.89 per cent from $555.351 million in 2022H1 as well as by 26.72 per cent from $531.36 million in 2022H2.

The world’s third-largest oil reserve holder was Cambodia’s ninth biggest goods trading partner in 2023H1, representing 1.88 per cent, 3.64 per cent and 0.23 per cent of its totals for international trade ($23.694B), exports ($11.464B) and imports ($12.229B) for the six-month period, according to the GDCE.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng blamed the declines in the Kingdom’s exports to and overall trade with Canada on a reduction in purchase orders from the six-time-zone nation stemming from the weak economic climate there and elsewhere across the world.

On the other hand, he tied the hike in imports from Canada to the strength and rapid pace of consumer demand and economic growth in the Kingdom.

“If the global political and economic environment was to improve, more orders for Cambodian goods would undoubtedly come from Canada, given the acknowledgement of their quality there. Canada is an important market for the Cambodian textile industries,” Heng told The Post on July 27.

He took the occasion to recall that the CCC has established a representative office in Toronto to market Cambodian products and personally enlighten Canadian investors about making direct investments in the Kingdom.

Senior CCC officers have revealed tentative plans for another Canadian office, in Quebec province – potentially in the Greater Montreal area.

According to Heng, high-potential Cambodia exports to Canada include garments, travel goods, footwear, electrical and electronic components, and bicycles, while the bulk of the Kingdom’s imports from the North American nation comprises electronic equipment.

For comparison, the latest figures from data aggregator Trading Economics show that “vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof” accounted for 46.5 per cent of the Kingdom’s imports from Canada in 2021, and “furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof” 37.3 per cent.

According to the GDCE, in June alone, Cambodian goods exports to Canada clocked in at $92.908 million, down 20.94 per cent year-on-year from $117.522 million, and down 2.2 per cent half-on-half from $94.974 million, but up 33.88 per cent quarter-on-quarter from $69.398 million, and up 18.11 per cent month-on-month from $78.661 million.

June imports from the constitutional monarchy made up 70.7 per cent of the first-half total, at $19.516 million, up 424.9 per cent year-on-year from $3.718 million, up 736 per cent half-on-half from $2.65 million, up 20.1-fold quarter-on-quarter from $0.97 million, and up 8.5-fold month-on-month from $2.30 million. This was the highest import month since June 2018 ($23.977M).

Canada was the Kingdom’s sixth largest export destination and number-13 import source in June, constituting 2.55 per cent, 4.07 per cent and 0.92 per cent of its international trade ($4.401B), exports ($2.281B) and imports ($2.120B), respectively, GDCE numbers show.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economist Ky Sereyvath asserted that although purchase orders for Cambodian commodities have decelerated in the majority of target countries over the last year, the Kingdom’s export momentum would pick back up should the current global economic slowdown come to an end.

“International trade is being dragged by global economic headwinds,” he stressed.

According to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the Kingdom between August 5, 1994, when the old Law on Investment was promulgated, and December 31, 2021 totalled 168.8 trillion riel ($41.0 billion), gaining 11.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Canada was the ninth largest investor in the Kingdom for the 10,011-day period with a 2.8 per cent share of that at $1.1 billion, after the Greater China region, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and the UK. The Greater China region encompasses mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

According to the GDCE, the Cambodia-Canada merchandise trade in 2022 was worth $1.154 billion, surging by 16.06 per cent on 2021 as well as by 95.03 per cent against 2015.

Cambodian goods exports to and imports from Canada amounted to $1.121 billion and $33.877 million, respectively, up 17.36 per cent and down 15.07 per cent year-on-year, expanding the Kingdom’s trade surplus with the North American nation by 18.77 per cent to $1.087 billion versus $914.940 million in 2021.

Canada was the fifth largest buyer of Cambodian merchandise in 2022, accounting for 4.98 per cent of the global total of $22.483 billion, compared to the top four: the US ($8.969B; 39.89%), Vietnam ($2.169B; 9.65%), mainland China ($1.241B; 5.52%) and Japan ($1.173B; 5.22%).


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