A rice store in Phnom Penh (Source AFP/VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) -
Cambodia's economy is predicted to stay robust in the short and medium terms despite the uncertainty of preferential tariff system granted to the country by several trading partners, according to Cambodian Minister for Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.

He said Cambodia's economy is expected to grow 7.1 percent in 2019, pushing up the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) to 27.2 billion USD. The GDP per capita is projected to be 1,706 USD next year, a rise of 9.1 percent from the 2018 figure.

The Southeast Asian country's economy has mainly been driven by garment exports, construction and real estate, tourism and agriculture.

The industrial sector, mainly garment and construction, is predicted to grow by 10 percent in 2019, while the service sector, mainly tourism, transport, telecom, trade and real estate, is expected to increase by 7 percent, and agriculture are projected to rise by 1.8 percent.

Pornmoniroth said the uncertainty of the preferential tariff system some trading partners have provided for Cambodia could pose a downside risk to the growth.

In October, the European Union (EU) announced that Cambodia could lose its special trade access to European markets under the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade scheme after it conducts a six-month review of the country's duty-free status.

The EU is a major trading partner of Cambodia, especially in the textile and footwear sectors. As a Least Developed Country, Cambodia has, for decades, exported all products, except arms and ammunition, to European markets with duty-free.

Ken Loo, Secretary General of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said over 46 percent of Cambodia's total apparel and footwear exports is to the EU.

The kingdom's export to the bloc was valued at about 5.7 billion USD in 2017, according to EU data.-VNA