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PPSEZ records $1.1 billion in trade volume last year

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PPSEZ managing director Hiroshi Uematsu. Heng Chivoan

PPSEZ records $1.1 billion in trade volume last year

Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSEZ) posted $1.139 billion in trade volume last year, up 14 per cent from 2018.

This is the second largest volume of exports among the Kingdom’s special economic zones (SEZs), after majority Chinese-owned Cambodia Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone.

There has been steady growth in investor trade activity over the years, PPSEZ said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This ranks us second with a share of 20.17 per cent of the total trade value handled by the 18 SEZs in Cambodia in 2019. This is something we, as the developer of the zone, are proud of,” it said.

PPSEZ, which also wholly-owns and manages the Poi Pet PP SEZ, is the capital’s largest SEZ.

PPSEZ managing director Hiroshi Uematsu said last year’s top notch business performance came as a result of good cooperation with local authorities.

“We have been receiving good cooperation from [our] one-stop service centre, especially the effort to provide good service and [simplify procedures for our investors] from the customs office in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.

“We never feel it is enough. We will keep trying hard to improve and develop our services and facilities so that our existing investors feel more at ease and more new investors will join,” said Uematsu.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said SEZs play a crucial role in attracting more foreign direct investment.

To attract more investors and reduce production costs, he said, the government should establish three special state administrations or special autonomous zones in key provinces.

He named Preah Sihanouk, Vietnam border provinces like Svay Rieng, Kampot and Koh Kong, and Thailand border provinces like Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey.

In the remaining provinces, existing Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) provincial sub-committees should approve investment projects with capital investment of more than $2 million, he said.

“By doing so, existing and new local and foreign investors can easily receive administrative services near their factories or industries if they want to apply for a new factory or for imports/exports,” said Heng.

Uematsu said factories in PPSEZ will remain operational during the ongoing pandemic. However, if the situation is not contained soon or in the event of an outbreak, factories will close.

“We assume most of the factories in PPSEZ are still operating as normal. That is what we hear from our tenants.

“However, due to the current market situation in the world, there might be some factories which need to slow down their operations after a few months. We don’t expect new investors until Covid-19 is contained.

“During such a tough time, it’s important to make action plans as simple as we can and carry them out quickly.

“We also set our action plan to go to the next stage of our business activities in the post-Covid-19 world’,” said Uematsu.

Cambodia exported $2.7 billion worth of goods through its SEZs last year, up 27 per cent from 2018, Ministry of Economy and Finance data shows.

As of the end of last year, there were 465 companies operating in the Kingdom’s 54 SEZs employing more than 100,000 workers.

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