The Cambodia-Canada commodity trade rose by almost one-fifth on-year to nearly $975 million in the January-October period, with local goods making up a weighty 96.97 per cent of the total, Customs reported, and two-way export flows are expected to pick up steam thanks to recent meetings held during this month’s dual ASEAN summits.

The 10-month commodity trade between the two countries amounted to $974.830 million, up 18.54 per cent year-on-year from $822.393 million, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

Although Cambodian exports to Canada accounted for $945.315 million, up 19.66 per cent year-on-year from $789.979 million, imports slid by 8.9 per cent from $32.414 million to $29.515 million. The Kingdom’s trade surplus with Canada for the period grew 20.89 per cent on a yearly basis from $757.565 million to $915.800 million.

In October alone, bilateral trade clocked in at $73.92 million, down 1.6 per cent year-on-year from $75.10 million and 23.40 per cent month-on-month from $96.50 million. Cambodian exports accounted for a 95.31 per cent share, totalling $70.45 million, down 4.7 per cent year-on-year from $73.96 million and 25.58 per cent month-on-month from $94.67 million.

October was an unusually weak month in an otherwise promising second half. The average monthly values for bilateral trade and Cambodian exports for the July-September quarter were $105.957 million and $101.889 million, respectively, up by 9.04 per cent and 7.40 per cent from the analogues for first-half 2022 – $97.173 million and $94.866 million.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng believes that Cambodian-Canadian trade will register even stronger positive trends going forward, driven by good intergovernmental relations as well as by the Cambodian products in hot demand on the Canadian market.

“Canada is a big buyer of textiles from Cambodia, so when the global economic situation improves, I believe there’ll be more Canadian investors coming to buy or do business in Cambodia,” he said.

Aside from textile-related products, Canada also buys large amounts of Cambodian bicycles, electrical equipment, electronic components and agricultural products, and notably exports vehicles, construction materials and advanced technical equipment to the Kingdom, he added.

Of note, the CCC on May 27 opened a representative office in Toronto, Canada seeking to share potential investment ideas in the Kingdom and other key pertinent information with Canadian businesspeople, and stimulate trade between the two countries.

Another office is on the cards for Montreal – also in eastern Canada.

Heng also mentioned that government leaders earlier this month vowed to boost trade cooperation between the two countries, at the dual ASEAN summits and related meetings hosted by Cambodia.

At one such meeting, with Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 12, his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau highlighted long-term cooperation in trade, diplomacy, education and climate change as central to Cambodian-Canadian ties, saying that there are lots of great opportunities for partnerships between Canada and the Kingdom, as well as with ASEAN.

The following day, Trudeau announced “concrete investments” that he said are part of Ottawa’s commitment to cementing relations with the bloc. The premier also expressed hope that the ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement (ACAFTA) would bolster bilateral cooperation on emerging technologies and the digital economy.

ASEAN and Canada agreed to launch formal negotiations on the ACAFTA last November.

In 2021, the Cambodia-Canada commodity trade totalled $994.716 million, up 23.27 per cent over 2020, with the Kingdom’s exports worth $954.828 million, up 27.07 per cent, and imports $39.888 million, down 28.16 per cent, according to the GDCE.

Top categories “articles of apparel and clothing accessories” made up 76.97 per cent of the Cambodian exports, while “vehicles other than railway or tramway rollingstock, and parts and accessories thereof” represented 46.5 per cent of the Kingdom’s imports, according to data site Trading Economics.

GDCE statistics show that the Kingdom’s trade surplus with Canada expanded by 31.48 per cent to $914.940 million in 2021, from $695.884 million a year earlier.