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Cambodians develop growing thirst for Korean beverages

Tom Starkey / Khmer Times Share:
Korean beverages are gaining popularity in Cambodia with sales having increased dramatically to become the country’s leading export to the Kingdom. KOTRA / Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange

South Korean beverages are continuing to gain popularity in Cambodia, with beverage consumption from the republic jumping more than eightfold – from $4.8 million in 2016 to $41.1 million in 2019 – according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

Since 2018, beverages have become South Korea’s largest export to the Kingdom, comprising some 13.4 percent of that nation’s total exports.

This has resulted in an average growth rate of 17 percent from 2018 to 2019 in the South Korean beverage sector. Experts say that the growth in demand for imported beverages in Cambodia is tied to a rise in the nation’s level of disposable income, along with the high proportion of young people in the Kingdom’s population.  In 2019, Cambodia’s total beverage imports stood at $300 million, comprising 62.5 percent of the nation’s beverage market.

The news comes amid ongoing negotiations for the proposed free trade deal between Cambodia and South Korea.  Negotiations are projected to be completed this year.

As reported by Khmer Times in December, relevant authorities confirmed that 90 percent of the issues addressed at the fourth round of talks had been agreed upon, including issues of economic cooperation, trade remedies, general regulations, conflict resolution mechanisms and a list of measures for products.

Between January and October 2020, two-way trade between Cambodia and South Korea was valued at $724 million, according to the Korea International Trade Association.

Cambodia exported $267 million of products to South Korea, with Cambodia importing $457 million worth of goods from South Korea.

Cambodian exports to South Korea were primarily garments and textiles, footwear, travel bags, spare parts, electronic equipment, rubber, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. Cambodia’s imports from Korea included vehicles, electronics, kitchen appliances, beverages, pharmaceuticals and plastic products.

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