Cambodia exported $7.1 billion worth of apparels and shoes in 2015, up 14.5 per cent from the previous year. Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports grew by 12.7 per cent in the first half of 2015. This increase occurred despite the 28 per cent monthly minimum wage hike that came into effect more than a year ago. The country’s share of the dollar value of US imports rose by 0.1 per cent in the first 11 months of 2015 to 2.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period.
In fact air cargo to and from Cambodia jumped 14 per cent last year, driven by an increase in apparel exports to the US, Japan and China. Most of Cambodia’s exports are garment products and most of its imports are accessories for garment production.
After manufacturing, finished product are sent mostly to the EU and US because these markets provide a quota to Cambodia. However, time will tell if Cambodia can retain its grip on garment exports: minimum wage for textiles and footwear workers went up 9.4 per cent in January, which could cause clothing giants to take their business to other low-cost countries. And air freight growth may slow in 2016 because of global economic uncertainty.