Cambodia sold more than $6.8186 billion worth of garments, footwear and travel products on international markets in the first eight months of 2021, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Garments accounted for $5,021,889,442.99, marking an increase of $160 million or 3.30 per cent over January-August 2020. And without providing figures for the corresponding period last year, the ministry noted that travel goods and footwear clocked in at $903,100,689 and $893,636,794, respectively.
Major buyers during the period included the US, the EU, Japan and the UK, the ministry added.
Speaking at the launch of Covid-19 vaccination campaign for children aged 6-11 on September 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen said pandemic-induced shocks to the production chains of important producers of textile goods, such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Brazil, had forced a diversion of orders that benefitted the Kingdom.
“Our industry is functioning normally. There are four factories that used to sew face masks, and now they are turning into producers of garments for export, prompted by mounting orders that some countries cannot supply,” he said, adding: “The Kingdom is safer now.”
“Therefore, solving the problem of vaccines is not about solving people’s lives, but about economic and social reopening, which is a must,” he added.
“We are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy vaccines to bring back billions of dollars for the Cambodian economy.”
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo told The Post in June that the textile and apparel market is an ever-growing market buoyed by booming population growth and increasing per-capita wealth.
Of note, he said, the retail market has driven a change from a mass production system, to what he called a “small batch, short life-cycle, fast fashion” set-up, through consumer pressure and influence from the burgeoning online shopping culture.
“This year we are lucky to receive some orders diverted from Myanmar. And we should have seen even bigger growth had it not been for the February 20 community outbreak,” Loo said.
In 2020, the Kingdom’s exports reached $17.21537 billion, up 16.72 per cent year-on-year from $14.74874 billion, and imports stood at $18.59048 billion, down 7.84 per cent year-on-year from $20.17181 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said in its 2020 annual performance report.
The total value of Cambodian international trade rose by just 2.54 per cent over 2019 to $35.80585 billion, and the trade deficit narrowed 74.64 per cent to $1.37511 billion in 2020, from $5.42307 billion in the previous year.