Cambodia's apparel exports fell 2.6 per cent in the first half of 2002 to $491 million compared to $504m in the year-ago period, trade chiefs revealed on Friday.

Officials said garment exports to the US plunged seven per cent to $351.3m in the January to June period after US buyers tightened their belts in the wake of September 11, although EU orders climbed 8.6 per cent year-on-year to $129.5m.

Commerce bosses added that clothing orders to other countries such as Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and South Korea soared 52.2 per cent $10.2m from $6.7m.

Cambodia's garment industry, which employs around 200,000 workers, generated exports of $1.1 billion last year of which $820m ended up in the US.