Cambodian exports to Japan soared during the first three months of 2018, reaching $390 million, a 15 percent hike compared to last year.
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On the other hand, Cambodian imports from Japan declined by 1.7 percent to $87.3 million, widening the trade deficit with Japan, according to recently released figures from Japan External Trade Organization.
According to those figures, Japan imports mainly garments, footwear, sugar, fish and seafood. It also buys a relatively small number of electronic components.
Meanwhile, Cambodia buys mostly machinery, cars and electronics from Japan, as well as beef, iron, steel and pharmaceutical products.
In Channy, chairman of the Cambodia-Japan Association for Business and Investment, told Khmer Times that Japanese are now investing in both light and heavy industries. He said some Japanese investment is now in semiconductors, electronics and auto parts.
“The flow of foreign direct investment from Japan is not only helping advance our industry. It is also helping us build our human capital,” he said, adding that the largely unskilled workforce continues to be the largest deterrent for investors with an eye on the kingdom.
“The government is doing its best to develop the workforce, but we are still behind,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday took time during a speech at Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone to praise Minebea, a Japanese company that has reportedly invested $170 million in the kingdom.
“The presence of Minebea will help attract more investment from other countries. Our goal is to have more factories like Minebea setting up here,” the premier said.
According to the National Bank of Cambodia, Japanese investment in Cambodia was worth $185 million in 2016, making it the third largest investor in the country. Most Japanese investment that year went towards manufacturing, finance, real estate and construction.