Cambodia: Furniture, similar exports sofa so good with 15% rise

Cambodia generated $827.421 million from the export of furniture, mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and similar items in the first nine months of 2022, marking respective jumps of 14.95 per cent and 58.12 per cent over the same periods in 2021 and 2020, according to Customs.

The aforementioned category of items, corresponding to Chapter 94 of the harmonised tariff schedule, accounted for 4.79 per cent of the value of the Kingdom’s total exports over the period, or $17.258 billion, statistics from the General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) indicate.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said exports of Chapter 94 items had historically been low, but now provide a significant revenue stream for the economy.

The raw materials for the production of these goods are mostly plants, wood, rubber latex and other natural resources which could be locally sourced, he commented.

“I am not sure where the raw materials are coming from, but I just want to emphasise that if more local materials can be used, not only would that create jobs for locals, but considerably trim costs associated with imports,” he said, adding a disclaimer that the exploitation of natural resources must comply with the law.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments, has in recent years approved a bevy of proposals for factories churning out Chapter 94 items.

Most recently, late last month, the CDC gave the nod to Home Style Living Co Ltd’s $6.6 million furniture and mattress factory in Svay Rieng province’s New Bavet Special Economic Zone, also known as “Sin Bavet” based on its Chinese name.

In 2021, exports of Chapter 94 items totalled $872.563 million, up 36.99 per cent from $636.965 million in 2020, which had been up 51.85 per cent from $419.477 million in 2019, according to the GDCE. The corresponding figure for 2015 was just $23.877 million.

For reference, the full title of Chapter 94 is “furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated name-plates and the like; prefabricated buildings”.