Cambodian exports of industrial products, including garment products, were worth $6.370 billion in 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 43 percent, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation.

The ministry’s report showed that exports of garments, footwear and travel goods reached only $3 billion, a massive decrease from the $9.32 billion exported in the category recorded in 2019.

The huge drop was said to be due to a decrease in orders attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ministry’s secretary of state and spokesman, Heng Sokkong.

“Some countries suspended their orders and [a number] of industrial factories suspended their production chains [with others shutting] down,” Sokkong told Khmer Times on Monday.

Non-garment exports such as electronic appliances were $482 million, leather product exports amounted to $1.200 billion, rubber and plastic exports reached $171 million and food and beverage exports were reported at $241 million.

According to the report, 235 new industrial factories opened last year, down 12 percent from the year before.  This brough the total number of factories to 1,864.

The number of industrial factories that closed in 2020 was 101, a 50 percent increase over 2019.

“In early 2021, industrial product exports have shown positive growth and production chains in the manufacturing sector have not been shutting down. The recovery of growth in the big economies, nations including the US, which is one of our main markets, indicates a high level of possibility that increased demand for our products will boost exports this year,” Sokkong said.

In 2019, Cambodian industrial product exports, including garment products, were valued at $11.18 billion, a year-on-year increase of 14 percent over 2018.