Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia export boom eyed after H1 drag

Malaysia export boom eyed after H1 drag

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man and woman pack mangoes in plastic bags for sale at Neak Meas, a vegetable wholesale market in the capital’s Tuol Kork district on March 9. The agriculture ministry identifies Malaysia as a major buyer of Cambodian mangoes. Heng Chivoan

Malaysia export boom eyed after H1 drag

The Cambodian business community is largely confident that exports to Malaysia will see appreciable gains in the coming years, underpinned by a wave of new investors from ASEAN’s third-largest economy, as the Kingdom pushes to upgrade production chains as well as expand and diversify its export basket.

This affirmation comes after the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) reported that the Kingdom’s trade deficit with Malaysia for the first half (H1) of 2022 expanded by an astonishing 67.88 per cent to $222.310 million.

For reference, bilateral trade between the two countries over the January-June period grew by 42.03 per cent year-on-year to $325.601 million – Cambodian exports to Malaysia edged up just 6.67 per cent to $51.645 million, while imports ballooned by 51.50 per cent to $273.955 million.

Keo Mom, director-general of industrial park developer Kampong Seila Special Economic Zone Co Ltd, told The Post on August 3 that the majority of the goods that Cambodia exports to Malaysia are produced by foreign-owned entities.

The current advancements made by Cambodia in production technology, processes and controls will bolster the value of the Kingdom’s exports to Malaysia, and play a part in attracting investors from there, contended Mom, who is also CEO of LY LY Food Industry Co Ltd (Lyly Food), one of the Kingdom’s largest food processors.

Although acknowledging the lacklustre performance of Cambodian exports to Malaysia, Mom stressed that the Kingdom is exploring ways to enter new export markets and unlock further expansion into its existing ones.

Moreover, she said, improvements in diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries –bilaterally and regionally, as well as within the ASEAN framework – have steadily pushed up their overall goods trade volumes.

Hong Vanak, an economist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, remarked that trade between the two countries remained relatively healthy during Covid-19, and explained that the current trade deficit is largely due to the Kingdom’s lower production capacity versus its ASEAN peer.

“Cambodia must strive to diversify production to reduce the trade gap,” Vanak said, expressing a desire to see a meaningful rise in the Kingdom’s exports to Malaysia. “When more goods are imported, more cash will flow out of the national economy,” he cautioned.

Major Cambodian exports to Malaysia comprise milled rice, oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB), peppercorn, rubber, fabrics, electrical components, and other industrial and agricultural products, while key imports include auto parts, food and beverages, and electronics, he said.

At a February meeting between Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and Malaysian trade and industry minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, both sides pledged to further boost bilateral trade and committed to maintaining open markets and facilitating investment to achieve that end.

The minister called on Azmin’s delegation to encourage existing and new Malaysian players to explore more investment opportunities in the Kingdom, citing as examples milled-rice and other agricultural exports, as well as training in food production techniques for domestic and international supply, particularly those compliant with halal requirements.

Halal processes and procedures are those deemed permissible under Islamic Law as defined in the religion’s holy book, the Quran.

Sorasak also highlighted Cambodia’s favourable investment climate, which he said is supported by the new and improved associated legal framework as well as the Kingdom’s rather large number of trading partners.

In 2021, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Malaysia was worth $503.004 million, up 13.028 per cent over 2020, according to the GDCE. Cambodian exports to Malaysia were $101.318 million, up 2.22 per cent, and imports $401.686 million, up 16.1 per cent. The Kingdom’s trade deficit with Malaysia for last year expanded by 21.708 per cent to $300.368 million.


  • 12th Cambodia int’l film festival to see return of Hollywood star

    Phnom Penh is set to come alive with the magic of cinema as the highly anticipated 12th Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) takes centre stage. Boasting an impressive line-up of 188 films from 23 countries, including captivating shorts, feature films, documentaries and animation, the festival promises an

  • Brawl marrs football final as Indonesian take gold in seven goal thriller

    The Indonesian men's U22 men national football team were crowned champions of the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, defeating Thailand 5-2 in extra time on May 16 at Olympic National Stadium in Phnom Penh. The match was marred by an ugly incident that occured in the 91

  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Candlelight Party disqualified from July general election

    The National Election Committee (NEC) has disqualified the Candlelight Party (CP) from contesting the upcoming general election, citing a lack of valid documentation. NEC spokesman Khorn Keomono said the CP failed to fulfil one of the three main requirements: including original documentation proving their registration

  • 1.4 billion dollar Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway due in four years

    The Government, through the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, has officially signed a public-private partnership agreement with a private company for the construction of a Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway project that will connect the capital to Svay Rieng province. The budget for the project is

  • New Law on Taxation comes into effect

    Cambodia has enacted the eagerly-awaited new Law on Taxation, which aims to improve the national tax regime’s compliance with present and future international standards and economic conditions; encourage accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the collection process; and promote investment in the Kingdom. King Norodom