The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved a cumulative 144 Japanese investment projects worth $2.79 billion since its inception in 1994, 66 of which are in special economic zones (SEZ) with $340 million in capital investment, it said in a press release.
The release was issued following the 21st Public-Private Sector Meeting of the Cambodia-Japan Joint Committee held at the CDC on February 11 evening.
CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea said Japanese investors play an important role in contributing to Cambodia’s economic growth, even as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Their continued investment in Cambodia is a testament to the commitment of Japanese investor, which builds up strong confidence in the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he said.
Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami praised the government’s policy and efforts across the relevant institutions in addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis and maintaining Cambodia’s competitiveness in international trade at this time.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on February 14 that Japanese investment is renowned for its clarity and robustness and that the island nation’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the Kingdom rank second after China.
He said Cambodia offers a vast reservoir of untapped investment potential with its readily-available and affordable labour force, superb investment laws, convenient transport infrastructure and a plethora of export document preparation services.
He noted that most Japanese investment projects in Cambodia manufacture goods for export and do not supply the domestic market. “I am optimistic that the number of Japanese companies that invest in Cambodia will continue to grow further and serve in bringing exports to international markets,” he said.
Chhour Vichet, CEO of Sanco-Poipet Special Economic Zone (SPSEZ) operator Sanco Cambo Investment Group Co Ltd, told The Post in May that interest in setting up factories in the SEZ remained resilient even as the pandemic raged on.
“Recently, two Japanese companies showed an interest in investing in our special economic zone,” he said. “They manufacture electrical components and are exploring investment opportunities in the area.”
Covering more than 83ha in Poipet town, Banteay Meanchey province, he said nine of the industrial park’s 10 occupants are Japanese-owned firms that mainly manufacture automobile, electric and electronic components for export to Japan and Thailand.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan for the first 11 months of last year was worth $1.9187 billion, down 8.77 per cent from the $2.1033 billion posted in the same period of 2019, according to the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
Cambodian exports for the period stood at $1.48614 billion, down 7.1 per cent year-on-year from $1.60043 billion, while imports ended at $432.6 million, down 14.0 per cent year-on-year from $502.88 million.