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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  June 2011

Cambodian trade deficit fuels growth

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Cambodia’s trade deficit has been downplayed as figures showed Cambodia imported US$882 million more in goods than it exported during the first five months of this year.

Ministry of Commerce figures showed imports increased to US$2.65 billion in the first five months, a growth of 58 percent on the corresponding period last year.

Exports grew 47 percent during the same period to $1.77 billion year-on-year.

The growth in imports had come from increased domestic consumption stemming from an improved economy, Economic Institute of Cambodia senior researcher Neou Seiha said.

“The trade deficit … is not a bad sign,” he said yesterday.

“It’s because we need raw materials to supply production here, and the deficit grows along with increases in demand.”

A large trade deficit did not mean imports ought to be banned, but that the Kingdom should work on increasing its own production capacity to compete, Neou Seiha said.

Local producers had gradually improved their production capacity, curbing the flows of imported products to some extent, but challenges remained, he said.

“We need more time to improve our labor to a high standard, although we can import more high-tech material to improve our production,” Neou Seiha said.

Agricultural exports more than doubled in value during the first five months of 2011, hitting $176 million this year. Garment exports increased 27 percent in value to $1.446 billion, the statistics showed.

Ministry of Commerce secretary of state Chan Nora said recent agreements with many advanced economies, such as China, had helped boost the Kingdom’s agricultural production this year.

Without agreements, Cambodian agricultural producers had fewer markets to sell their produce to, resulting in lower prices, he said.

The trial is ongoing.


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