The value of imports and exports passing through the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) reached $1.185 billion in the first seven months of 2021, an increase of 44.51 per cent year-on-year, the operator reported.
Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy told The Post that the Kingdom’s freight industry continues to be severely affected by Covid-19, but slight improvements in activity have been observed.
Some special economic zones (SEZ) have reported higher-than-expected growth, while others have hit rock bottom, he said, adding that in some SEZs, “imports and exports have jumped due to market demand.
“For example, non-milled-rice agricultural exports have soared, and electronic components and bicycles have also seen gains,” Chanthy said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on July 12 that despite the situation in the Kingdom and the rest of the world around the Covid-19 crisis, the country’s exports did not slow down in the first half of 2021, especially agricultural products, electronic components and bicycles.
The Kingdom has been making efforts to diversify its export portfolio, he said, adding that the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) is one in a long line of strategic tools to step up the Kingdom’s export capacity.
The CCFTA was signed by Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak and his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan via video link on October 12, with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi as witnesses. The trade deal is expected to enter into force on January 1, according to Nin Saphon, chairwoman of the National Assembly’s 9th Commission.
Heng said progress on the CCFTA “encapsulates the resilience of Cambodia, and not just apropos of special economic zones”, arguing that export growth would trigger a rise in the import of raw materials.
SSEZ lies on a whopping 11.13sq km in Bit Traing commune’s Pou Thoeung village in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district.
Established in 2008 and purportedly committed to creating multinational investment platforms for companies around the world, SSEZ is a partnership between by Jiangsu Taihu Cambodia International Economic Cooperation Investment Co Ltd and the Cambodia International Investment Development Group Co Ltd (CIIDG).
According to the SSEZ, it handled imports and exports worth $1.565 billion last year, an increase of 26.52 per cent over 2019.
As of November, the SEZ housed 165 businesses employing 30,000 people, according to chairman Chen Jiangang.
The factories produce textile products, electrical accessories, footwear, travel goods, electronic products, tyres, car parts, office equipment and supplies, furniture and sports equipment, among other products, SSEZ said in a statement.