Chinese-owned industrial park developer and operator QiLu (Cambodia) Special Economic Zone Co Ltd on Thursday signed a strategic partnership with Environmental Protection Industry Associations of Cambodia (Epiac).
QiLu is behind a 450ha special economic zone (SEZ) planned for Svay Rieng town, the administrative centre of the eponymous province, which is expected to cost $1 billion.
It says the SEZ will be 4km from the town centre just south of National Road 1. Blueprints of the industrial zone show that the project is on the northern bank of a river.
The deal aims to guide QiLu in creating an integrated environmentally friendly SEZ that “welcomes foreign investors to the border province”.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, QiLu director Xing Baoguo said the government issued a sub-decree on March 28, 2017 establishing the SEZ.
He said the zone would be built in three phases – Phase I will be laid on 215ha, Phase II will cover 145ha and Phase III will add 90ha.
It would be partitioned by industry into six areas – garments, textiles, light industrial products, machine components, construction material and chemicals, he added.
“With the fast development of Cambodia’s economy, there is the focus on ecology and environment as keys for the country’s sustainable economic growth.
“To ensure the Cambodia’s natural resources are managed more appropriately and act as a compass in additional industrial zone projects, QiLu has put ecology and environment at the top of our development plan agenda.
“Today, we joined hands with Epiac to promote a green development for our industrial zone and to build an exceptional first environmental protection industrial zone in Cambodia,” Xing said.
Epiac director Choon Yik Thong said environmental protection has been a focal point of the government’s administration since the dawn of industrialisation in Cambodia.
He pointed out that the Kingdom has lost out on many would-be investors who were put off by a lack of waste water treatment facilities and technical support.
He said: “Since its inception, Epiac has been actively engaging with various factories and industrial zones within Cambodia in order to find ways to improve waste water treatment facilities and processes.
“Now finally the first and so far only environmental friendly industrial zone is planned to be set up very soon, with cooperation between QiLu and Epiac and of course with the support and blessing of the Ministry of Environment and Svay Rieng [provincial] governor [Men Vibol],” he said.
Speaking as a witness at the signing ceremony, Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika said equipping QiLu’s project with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure with the environment in mind was sure to entice more investors.
He said: “We [GMAC] laud the partnership. It is sure to make the zone more environmentally friendly and make the are more attractive for investment.
“Investment in adequate facilities and good infrastructure doesn’t only make it easier for investors but also breeds additional investment.
“QiLu will become a role-model industrial zone in Cambodia in terms of environmental protection and environmental friendliness.”
The value of the exports from the Kingdom’s SEZs were to the tune of $2.688 billion last year, representing a 27 per cent surge over 2018, Ministry of Economy and Finance data show.
As of the end of last year, there were 465 companies operating in the Kingdom’s 54 SEZs employing more than 100,000 workers, the figures show.