Cambodia imported $393.5 million worth of pharmaceutical products last year, down by 0.26 per cent from $394.51 million in 2019, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s 2020 Annual Report.
Hay Ly Eang, CEO of Pharma Product Manufacturing (PPM), a local distributor and exporter, told The Post that Cambodia imported about 90 per cent of its pharmaceuticals to meet domestic demand.
“PPM produces more than 200 kinds of medicines, we grow production every year according to market demand, but we only meet a part of the market demand because we import about 90 per cent. We mainly import pharmaceutical products from France, India, South Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.
He called on Cambodians as well as the government to support local products in order to maintain regional and international competitiveness.
“We import a lot, so government needs to continue to push the market so that our domestic products can go a couple of notches higher and compete with imported drugs,” Ly Eang said.
Sim Sal, founder of Nanyka Soksabbay Pharma Co Ltd, a local importer and distributor, said his company imported medicines from the EU and Indonesia.
A pharmacist who holds a Master of Business Administration, Sal said the Kingdom has to resort to imports due to the limited domestic production capacity and the difficulty of competing with imported products in terms of volumes and costs.
“I firmly believe that our local products will gain more domestic market share and imports will be reduced because Cambodians love Cambodians and are willing to support Cambodian products,” he said.
On May 5, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) agreed to issue a final registration certificate for Santelys Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s $12.5 million pharmaceutical factory in Sanlong commune’s Sanlong village of Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district, which is expected to create 215 new jobs.
Kandal provincial deputy governor Noupeng Chandara welcomed the project – the first pharmaceutical factory in the province – which he said would bring many benefits to the economy and society in Cambodia. “Usually when investment projects come in, they help create more job opportunities for local people,” he told The Post.
The total value of Cambodian international trade rose by just 2.54 per cent over 2019 to $35.80585 billion, the commerce ministry’s report said.
The Kingdom exported $17.21537 billion worth of goods last year, up by 16.72 per cent from $14.74874 billion in 2019, and imported $18.59048 billion, down by 7.84 per cent from $20.17181 billion in 2019.
The Kingdom’s trade deficit narrowed 74.64 per cent to $1.37511 billion in 2020, from $5.42307 billion in the previous year.