Cambodia remains EU’s biggest export supplier

Trade preference, well-known Cambodia-made production and social-economic recovery have made Kingdom maintain its position as the biggest exporter of bicycles to the European Union, said senior officials.

Across the country, there are 13 bicycle assembly and bicycle component factories with a total investment value of $112 million, said Heng Sokkhung, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The bicycle industry output was $520 million in the first half of this year, he said, adding that the export rose by 144 percent to $505 million and the rest was sold to the domestic market.

Stability, peace, and social security, particularly the successful Covid-19 control with a high rate of the vaccinated population have maintained a stable production chain and also built up confidence in new investment, Sokkung told Khmer Times on Thursday.

“The successful controllable on Covid-19 pandemic is the main factor to keep the production chain of bicycle manufacturing, ensure the purchase orders during this period,” Sokkung said.

Cambodia’s bicycle exports accounted for 24 percent of total bicycles sold in the EU, Sokkung claimed.

All of the 13 factories are invested by Chinese investors.

Before 2017, Taiwan held the position as the leading supplier of bicycles to the EU but the Cambodian bicycle export market has remained in positive territory in recent years.

The trade preference scheme – Everything But Arms (EBA) is the factor pushing Cambodia in the EU as the biggest bicycle supplier, said Penn Sovicheat, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce.

“The quality of Cambodia-made bicycles is well-known in the EU which has boosted demand for bicycles shipped from Cambodia,” Sovicheat said on Thursday.

“With the EBA scheme, Cambodia is enjoying bicycle exports to the bloc increase,” he said.

Everything but Arms is an initiative of the European Union under which all imports to the EU from the Least Developed Countries are duty-free and quota-free, with the exception of armaments.

With the recently promulgated new investment law, Cambodia will likely attract more investment in the paddle sector, Sokkung said.

“We have reformed the new investment environment, businesses, and policies and new investment law,   giving more incentives to investors, will contribute to attracting more investors to the country,” Sokkung said.

The Kingdom exported relevant products worth $6.6 billion during the first half of this year, up 40 percent from the same period last year, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise.

Of which, the non-garment industrial products including bicycles, amounted to some $1 billion.

“The bicycle export increase shows the diversification in the industry sector from labour-intensive factories to skilled labour factories,” he said.