Data from the General Department of Customs and Excise for Cambodia under the Ministry of Economy and Finance show apparel exports amounted to US$7.75bn in the period from January to October, representing an increase on $6.54bn a year earlier.

The export figure represents around 41.3% of Cambodia’s total foreign income of $18.75bn for the period.

Cambodia’s exports of non-knitted apparel and clothing accessories increased 25.1% to $2.23bn in the first ten months of the year, as compared to $1.79bn in the previous year. Knitted apparel, meanwhile, saw growth of 16% to $5.51bn from $4.75bn last year.

For the month of October, however, exports were down due to slow demand from global markets.

Exports of knitted apparel and clothing accessories dropped 24.2% to $403.5m from $532.3m, while non-knitted apparel and clothing exports dropped 4.3% to $169m from $177m last year.

According to Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise, the country’s exports in garments, footwear and travel goods increased by 15.2% in 2021, year-on-year, to reach $11.38bn.

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The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) recently approved project investments for the country’s apparel and accessories sector worth US$11.3m in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces, respectively. The projects are expected to generate about 4,054 job opportunities.

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) recently told Just Style that the country’s garment industry still holds competitive advantages over other regional outsourcing centres. 

He said the Cambodian industry has played a smart game in diversifying its markets, for instance by leaning into opportunities such as the US’s inclusion of travel goods (some textile-made) in its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) special trade access, thus boosting Cambodia’s exports to the US by 64.7% to $7.07bn in H1 2022, year-on-year.