Having endured the rule of Khmer Rouge and a civil war, Cambodia is currently enjoying two decades of relative stability. New Zealand was involved in the peace process following the end of Khmer Rouge rule and in 1993 provided its then-largest peacekeeping force (over 100 military personnel) to the UN peacekeeping mission (UNTAC). Cambodia’s economic potential and natural resources are attracting foreign investment. Tourism is flourishing and garment-making, the country’s biggest industry employs around half a million people accounting for 80% of Cambodia’s exports. However, Cambodia is amongst one of the poorest countries of the world and around one third of its people live on less than one dollar per day.

Cambodia-NZ Bilateral Relationship

The bilateral relationship between New Zealand and Cambodia is limited in scope, but constructive. There is a steady but small trade relationship, and a considerable flow of New Zealand tourists to Cambodia. After years of conflict, Cambodia is struggling to rebuild many of the economic, social and physical foundations needed to ensure future growth and development. The Government is providing political stability and economic growth, but remains one of Asia’s least developed countries.

Cambodia – NZ Trade and Economic Relationship

Bilateral trade is modest, with apparel comprising almost half of all imports while exports are dominated by paper and edible preparations of meat. New Zealand consultancy companies are active in Cambodia, and have been carrying out a range of contracts in water supply and sanitation, resource management, civil engineering and other areas. In November 2010 Cambodia ratified its participation in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement which provides a strong basis for development of the trade relationship.

Key Facts

14,952,665 (July 2012)
Capital city Phnom Penh
Language Khmer

Political system Constitutional monarchy
National government Cambodian people’s party and funcinpec party
Head of state His majesty norodom sihamoni acceded to the throne on 29 october 2004.
Head of government Prime minister hun sen

Economic (2015)
GDP US$19.4 billion
Real GDP growth 7.1% (estimate, economist intelligence unit)
Exports US$7.5 billion
Main exports The primary export product is apparel
Imports US$10.5 billion
Main imports Textiles, petroleum product, and vehicles

New Zealand Trade (Dec 2014)
Exports (FOB) NZ$5.6million
Main exports Paper & paperboard & articles; edible preparations of meat, fish, crustaceans; optic, photo, medic or surgical instruments
Imports (CIF) NZ$9.8 million
Main imports Apparel articles and accessories (knit and crochet); footwear; apparel articles and accessories (not knit and crochet); vehicles


Sources including South/ South East Asia Division, MFAT NZ