The Council for the Development of Cambodia’s (CDC) two regular notices issued month-to-date reveal that the government body has approved registration certificates for nine new private investment projects – all in manufacturing – valued at a total of $77.4 million and set to deliver an estimated 17,029 jobs. Four of these ventures are in textile-related fields.

The two totals – for investment capital and jobs expected to be created – were calculated by The Post using statistics that were provided individually. The actual figures may differ due to rounding.

The CDC notices, issued on July 10 and 11, mention that the projects – attributed to nine distinct companies – will manufacture knitted sweaters, gloves, socks and other garments; bags; eyeglasses and frames; home appliances; house cleaning tools; and lamps and lighting fixtures.

Four of the ventures are in Kampong Speu province, two in Takeo and one in each of Phnom Penh and Kandal and Preah Sihanouk provinces.

The Ministry of Commerce lists addresses in mainland China for officers of six of the nine companies in question: Runzhimao Health Co Ltd, Bright Plastic (Cambodia) Co Ltd, Hen Yang (Cambodia) Apparel Manufacturing Co Ltd, Super Knitting (Cambodia) Co Ltd, SSCA Garment Co Ltd, and Foton Packaging Product Co Ltd.

The other three firms in question – Litesun Homedecor Co Ltd, Taral International Co Ltd, and United Creation Optical (Cambodia) Co Ltd – were not found in the ministry’s business registry as of press time.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economist Hong Vanak told The Post on July 12 that the current wave of project proposals and subsequent CDC approvals, despite the fact the political and economic situation around the world has not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 normality, underscore the Kingdom’s investment potential across the board.

Cambodia’s free trade agreements (FTA) and preferential tariff advantages in foreign markets are essential for enticing investors, he said, citing the Kingdom’s bilateral FTAs with China, South Korea and the UAE, and the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as examples.

“I’m optimistic that there’ll be plenty more new international companies doing business in Cambodia given the potential of its geographic location, the government’s efforts to develop and improve the investment legal framework, coupled with improvements in market access abroad,” Vanak said.

He asserted that considerable advancements have been made in infrastructure and human resource development to prepare Cambodia for future investment inflows, and that the Kingdom’s production portfolio is now more diverse and capable of satisfying the quality and quantity demands of people from all walks of life.

In a recent interview with The Post, Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd CEO Keo Mom contended that the local market could lure more national and international investors should domestic electricity tariffs be set at or below comparable rates in nearby countries.

Since the cost of electricity affects almost every aspect of production, low rates help ensure that goods are more competitively priced, she explained.

“Before foreign players invest in any country, among the first questions they ask are ‘Is there enough electricity there?’ and ‘Are the electricity tariffs high or low?’” according to Mom.

The CDC reported that it approved 113 new investment and expansion projects with combined registered capital of about $1.1 billion in the first half of the year.

These undertakings are expected to generate about 122,000 new jobs, the council said, adding that the industrial sector accounted for the most projects, at 102 (90.27%), followed by agriculture and agro-industry (7), tourism (3) and infrastructure and other (1).

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the CDC last year approved 132 private investment projects outside of the Kingdom’s SEZs worth a total of $3.23 billion, up 87.9 per cent from $1.719 billion – through 108 ventures – a year earlier.

These projects were expected to create about 0.122 million jobs, up 35.9 per cent from 0.09 million in 2021, the ministry said in a Socio-Economic Trends report.