Cambodia Trade, Exports and Imports

By: EconomyWatch Content   Date: 11 March 2010

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Cambodia’s foreign trade has increased tremendously after the civil and political turmoil receded in 1999. The per capita income increased rapidly although it remained lower than other South East Asian countries. Cambodian imports fell in value from $6.534 billion in 2008 to $5.374 billion in 2009. However, due to the global economic recession, the economy had to face a considerable downfall in its exports. The value of exports came down to $3.582 billion as of 2009, from $4.708 billion in 2008.

Cambodia Trade: History

For decades, Cambodia has been exporting primary products and importing finished goods. There was a steep decline in exports during the war and the country had to survive on US-subsidized imports. Trade went through a period of virtual cessation during the regime of Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge communist movement. In 1977, the country exported $3 million worth of goods, while it imported $22 million worth of products (excluding trade with China) as per Western estimates.

Cambodia’s foreign trade saw some upward movement after the installation of the PRK government. In 1985, the country exported goods worth about $10 million and imported goods worth $120 million, approximately. Cambodia was trading mainly with the former USSR and its allies in the mid 1980s.

Till 1992, agricultural products, such as rubber and timber, were the main export items of Cambodia. Due to the high export of logs, the forest cover of the country fell to 40% of the land area, as estimated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Cambodia Imports: Commodities

Here are the major import commodities of Cambodia:

  • Petroleum products

  • Cigarettes

  • Gold

  • Construction materials

  • Machinery

  • Motor vehicles

  • Pharmaceutical products 

Cambodia Imports: Partners 

The following were Cambodia’s import partners as of 2008:

  • Thailand: 27.1%

  • Vietnam: 19.2%

  • China: 14.7%

  • Hong Kong: 8.2%

  • Singapore: 7%

  • Taiwan: 5.6%

Cambodia Exports: Commodities

Here are the major export commodities of Cambodia:

  • Clothing

  • Timber

  • Rubber

  • Rice

  • Fish

  • Tobacco

  • Footwear

Cambodia Exports: Partners

The following were Cambodia’s export partners as of 2008:

  • The US: 54.5%

  • Germany: 7.7%

  • Canada: 5.9%

  • The UK: 5.5%

  • Vietnam: 4.5% (2008)

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