Cambodian garment exports get preferential access in markets like Canada, Japan and especially the EU. The EU is its largest export market, accounting for 45 per cent of its total garment exports. The EU grants Cambodia duty-free access under the generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement.
Cambodia’s total exports of garments and footwear to Japan increased by 32.7 per cent in the first half of the year, that is, January to June 2016. Cambodia has lower production costs than has Japan and so Japan doesn’t produce much of garments and footwear.
The main products that Cambodia exports to Japan are garments, footwear, sugar, fish and seafood. Imports from Japan are mainly machinery, automobiles, electronic products, beef, iron, steel and pharmaceutical products.
Companies which buy from Cambodia include H&M, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Adidas, Nike, Levi’s and Uniqlo.
The garment industry of Cambodia earns 80 per cent of Cambodia’s foreign exchange earnings and employs an estimated 3,50,000 people in more than 300 factories.
Cambodia relies heavily on garment exports to earn foreign earnings. There are now plans to shift from low-priced garment manufacturing to higher end manufacturing of automobile, machinery and electronic parts, which will help it diversify its export basket and maintain the overall health of the economy.