Cambodia's imports of beverages, spirits and vinegar declined 15 per cent to $70.34 million in the first quarter of 2022 from $83.09 million a year ago, likely due to lower demand following government calls to cut gatherings and entertainment activities.
General Department of Customs and Excise data showed that in March alone, total imports dipped 1.4 per cent to $26.2 million compared to $26.6 million last year.
“The government’s decision to restrict gatherings, including wedding parties and traditional ceremonies to combat the spread of Covid-19, slower public spending and the increase of domestic production might have impacted the imports.
“The import of expensive wines and whiskeys remained the same though,” said Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.
He said because most of the products are not raw materials for the production of fabrics, leather and other goods for export to international markets, the decline in beverage, spirits and vinegar imports is not bad for the national economy.
In fact, an economic analysis would show that reduced imports of these products may provide more profit for the domestic production chain as manufacturers would be able to expand production to meet local demand.
“They can also export to international markets. This will bring more international currency into the Cambodian economy,” he told The Post on May 3.
Reflecting his opinion, two new breweries – Hanuman Beverages and Vattanac Brewery with a total investment of $300 million – were opened in 2021, at the height of the pandemic, bringing the total number of local breweries to 13 in Cambodia.