The Kingdom exported $4.7214 billion worth of garments, footwear, travel products (GFT) and other finished textile goods in the first half of 2021, up 0.9 per cent year-on-year from $4.6813 billion, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo told The Post 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, influence from the burgeoning online shopping culture, and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year we are lucky to receive some orders shifted from Myanmar. We should have grown bigger if there hadn’t been a February 20 community outbreak,” Loo said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng noted that the political crisis in Myanmar and the escalating Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh have led to a significant rise in orders, as buyers flock to the Kingdom.
Myanmar and Bangladesh are among the Kingdom’s most direct competitors in garments, he noted.
“The growth of garment exports has gained traction, especially to the EU, US and UK. I believe that the garment sector will continue to do well for Cambodia moving forward,” Heng said.
China is one of Cambodia’s main sources of raw materials for garments and footwear, accounting for 60 per cent of domestic supply.
In a recent interview with Bayon Television (BTV), Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian highlighted China’s role in the Kingdom’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
Wang remarked that the Kingdom has struggled to secure a steady supply of raw materials for its garment and textile sector.
“The Chinese side is pleased to continue to strengthen practical cooperation with Cambodia in all areas to help revive its economy,” he 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.