Vongsey Vissoth, Permanent Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodia says although garment exports have dropped, the total amount of Cambodia’s exports to the international market in the first five months remained positive. Hence, Cambodia’s trade deficit dropped by 20 per cent, revealed a semi-annual report by the National Bank of Cambodia.
The NBC’s report also added export of Cambodian products increased 3 per cent, stemming from an increase of electronics by 45 per cent, bikes by 18 percent, rice by 29 percent and other products by 30 percent while exports of manufacturing dropped around 6 percent and rubber by 27 percent. Cambodian garment exports dropped over 5 per cent to around $3.78 billion in the first half of the year, according to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
In the first half of 2020, Cambodia’s garment exports were around $3.784 billion, a fall of 5.4 per cent from more than $4 billion in the same period in 2019. The reason for this decrease was the impact of COVID-19 on the sector which led to a suspension of factories and fewer purchasing orders, said Ken Loo, Secretary-General, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).
As of June, 450 factories suspended production in the garment, footwear and travelling bag sector and 83 factories were formally closed compared to 2019, when 75 factories were closed. Additionally, the government did not implement effective measures and policies to support the private sector.
Heng Sour, Spokesperson, Labor Ministry revealed that so far more than 10 factories have asked permission to transform their production chain to produce face masks. Currently there are two factories producing face masks in Cambodia.