Cambodian exports to the European Union have soared in the last six months and are expected to reach more than $1.5 billion by the end of the year.
The increase comes from relaxed rules under an EU preferential scheme, the EU said in a statement, as more than 100 Cambodian exporters from various sectors met in hopes of benefiting from preferential trade status.
Cambodian producers can benefit from the EU’s “Everything But Arms” plan, which allows for tariff-free exports. It has also benefitted from relaxed “rules of origin” that began in January.
“The European Union is one of the main promoters of trade openness as an important lever to economic growth and jobs creation, particularly in developing countries,” Rafael Dochoa Moreno, charge d’affairs of the EU’s Cambodia mission, said.
Moreno said trade had nearly doubled over the last six months, compared to the same period last year, to $930 million. He estimated the total exports from Cambodia could reach $1.6 billion by the end of the year.
Cambodian exports include garments, footwear and agricultural products, he said. However, he said, Cambodia needs greater diversification, including production of sugar, cassava and other goods.
Moa Thura, secretary of state for the Ministry of Commerce, told producers they needed to work to ensure Cambodia’s economic growth through the EU trade scheme.