Just three investment projects were approved by the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) in November, all in the beleaguered garment sector, figures released Tuesday by the government’s key investment body show.
The three projects were worth a combined US$14.2 million, well below the $126.9 million worth of projects approved in the same month last year, when nine projects were approved.
The biggest garment project approved, with a planned investment of $8.2 million, was backed by Taiwan investors. South Korean investors earmarked $3.5 million for another garment factory, and Chinese investors plan to sink $2.5 million into a third.
Cambodia’s garment exports have fallen more than 20 percent this year, and the country has lost market share in the US – its main export market – against regional competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh since the global financial crisis hit in late 2008.
A CDC official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the new applications showed there is still hope for the garment sector.
Cheat Khemara, a senior official of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said the applications were the result of a long-running CDC campaign to promote investment, but that more work is needed. “We welcome new investors into our garment sector, but the number of newly opened factories is small compared to the number of recently closed ones,” he said.
The government has now approved $1.64 billion worth of projects this year, down on the $10 billion approved to the end of November 2008.