Cambodia has won praise from the WTO for its “solid” economic performance and relatively open economy, at the conclusion of the country’s first Trade Policy Review.

The WTO highlighted the fact that Cambodia’s per capita income had more than doubled in the period under review, while the poverty rate had fallen from 35% to 26%.

Organisation members also congratulated the country for successfully emerging from the global economic crisis without having to adopt protectionist trade measures.

Describing Cambodia's economy as relatively open, the WTO pointed to a trade-to-GDP ratio of about 65% and noted that exports accounted for a large proportion of employment growth.

However, the WTO is urging the country to step up efforts to diversify its goods exported and markets targeted, fearing that Cambodia is over-reliant on relatively few products and countries.

Furthermore, the organisation said Cambodia still had “significant work to do” to improve its business environment and to address infrastructure bottlenecks.

Despite the praise for Cambodia’s economic achievements, local business leaders are lamenting the lack of financing for manufacturing exports - which hurts the garment industry especially hard.

Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, told the Phnom Penh Post that manufacturers finance themselves, largely with support from parent companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan. But smaller local companies without overseas ties often lack resources.