South Korea traded nearly $ 870 million between January and November

The loading dock of the port of Sihanoukville. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea reached $ 869.735 million in the first 11 months of 2021, an increase of 8.805% from $ 799.354 million in the same period last year, according to the reports. Korea International Trade Association (Kita) data released this weekend.

From January to November, Cambodian exports to South Korea amounted to $ 309.074 million, up 5.872% year-on-year from $ 291.933 million, while imports reached $ 560.661 million, in up 10.492% from $ 507.421 million in the same period last year. year.

Cambodia’s trade deficit with South Korea widened 16.752 percent, from $ 215.488 million to $ 251.587 million.

In the last month alone, bilateral trade amounted to $ 78.419 million, an increase of 4.254% from 75.218 million in November 2020. Of this amount, Cambodia’s exports amounted to $ 26.077 million, up 5.205%, and imports reached $ 52.341 million. up 3.787 percent.

The Kingdom’s trade deficit increased 2.418%, from $ 25.644 million in November 2020 to $ 26.264 million last month.

Hong Vanak, director of international economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on December 20 that trade between the two countries has been steadily increasing,
even as the Covid-19 crisis has prompted countries around the world to tighten their borders.

That number will increase further when the Cambodia-Korea Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) between the two countries comes into force soon, he predicted.

“Even with the Covid-19 Omicron variant now threatening the global economy, I remain optimistic that trade between the two countries will continue to grow.

“In addition, the free trade agreement [FTA] signed by the two countries will also help attract more Korean investors to Cambodia, ”he said.

He added that Cambodia has a pool of skilled human capital which is growing markedly every year.

On the other hand, Vanak suggested that Cambodia’s trade deficit with South Korea would force the Kingdom to make more efforts to produce and process new products for export to the Korean market, ranging from agricultural products to industrial products. .

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce Vice President Lim Heng shared Vanak’s optimism that the FTA would create a significant burden on Cambodian exports to the East Asian country, providing access in duty-free or partial tariff reductions to a wide range of goods.

Highlighting South Korea’s export potential for Cambodian products, Heng said, “Cambodia needs to redouble its efforts to diversify its production to meet the needs of the Korean market.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said at a cabinet meeting on December 16 that Cambodia would benefit a lot from the CCFTA, especially in terms of trade and investment flows from South Korea.

“We need the FTA to materialize soon, as we will be able to further open up the South Korean market – which means we will have more export destinations and we will not have to depend on it. only one, “he said, noting that a similar agreement with China will also enter into force soon.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, CKFTA will provide duty-free access to more than 10,000 Cambodian items in the South Korean market.

Under the CKFTA, coupled with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Kingdom will lift tariffs on 93.8% of traded goods, with South Korea removing tariffs on 95.6%, reported the Yonhap news agency in late October citing South Korean trade. ministry.

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