Cambodia-Japan trade hit $326M Jan-Feb

Cambodia-Japan trade hit $326M Jan-Feb

Cambodian exports to Japan constituted over two-thirds of total bilateral trade between the two nations in the first two months of 2024, as per the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Between January and February, their bilateral trade was valued at $325.65 million, a 9.3% rise from $298.06 million during the same period of 2023. Cambodian exports to Japan amounted to $237.22 million, increasing by 15.3%, while imports from Japanese decreased by 4.3%, totalling $88.43 million. 

Cambodia-Japan trade volume represented 4.01% of the Kingdom’s total international trade volume of $8.12 billion for the interval.

Japan is currently Cambodia’s fifth-largest international trading partner, following China, Vietnam, the US and Thailand. 

Cambodia’s trade surplus with Japan widened to $148.79 million, up from $113.24 million year-on-year.

Prime Minister Hun Manet visited Japan in December 2023 to participate in the commemorative summit for the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation

During the 2023 Cambodia Investment Workshop held then, he encouraged more Japanese financing in Cambodia and proposed a joint study by private sectors of both nations to establish a Cambodia-Japan special economic zone (SEZ) in the Kingdom.

Sam Soknoeun, president of the Global Real Estate Association and partner to a Japanese investor exploring the establishment of the zone, told The Post on March 25 that the improvement in diplomatic relations is a key driver of the increasing trade activities between the two countries. 

“Trade between the two nations is expected to expand in the future. Regarding the Cambodia-Japan SEZ project, it is progressing positively, although it requires more time for comprehensive study,” he stated.

Soknoeun mentioned that Japanese investors are carefully examining several factors, including the Cambodian investment law, procedures for establishing and investing in SEZs, the preferential tariff systems Cambodia enjoys with other countries, transportation infrastructure, labour force and the market potential for purchasing goods from Cambodia. 

He believes that the zone will significantly attract more Japanese investment into Cambodia.

“If the Cambodia-Japan SEZ is established promptly, it will greatly benefit job creation, personal income and Cambodia’s economic growth,” he added.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), stated that following a decline in value of Cambodian international trade due to the global economic crisis, there has been a gradual recovery, particularly in the export of Cambodian goods. 

He noted that the country currently exports a significant volume of goods to Japan, predominantly textiles, electronic components and agricultural products.

Heng mentioned that the private sector in Cambodia, represented by the CCC, has established a representative office in the Sendai region of Japan. He said the office functions as a hub for providing and disseminating information and plays a key role in enhancing the appeal of Cambodia as a destination for Japanese investment.

“With the increase in production capacity and the quality of Cambodian products, we expect more exports to Japan. At the same time, we also hope to attract more Japanese financiers,” he said.

The primary products the country exports to Japan include garments, footwear, components and agricultural products, while imports consist of machinery, automobiles, electronics and agricultural equipment, as per the GDCE.

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) reported that Japan was Cambodia’s fourth-largest investor as of the end of Q1 2023, with a total investment of 11.3 trillion riel ($2.806 billion), an 11.6% increase from the same period of 2022, following China, South Korea and Singapore.

The central bank noted Japanese investments predominantly focus on finance, construction, hotels and real estate.

Trade between the two nations amounted to $1.8 billion in 2023, representing a 7.2% decrease from 2022. Cambodian exports to Japan totalled $1.17 billion, a 2% increase, while imports dipped to $623.6 million, a decline of 18.5%, according to the GDCE. Phnom Penh Post

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