Import-export activities in Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) rose nearly 40 per cent to $1.374 billion in the first half of 2022 from $994 million a year ago, thanks to the gradual recovery of production and higher regional and global demand.

“SSEZ has maintained stable development along with the effort by employees, which pushed up the import-export value by 38.23 per cent year-on-year,” according to a statement by the operator, Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone Co Ltd.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng noted that the growth symbolised the strength of investor confidence in Cambodia, the breadth of export markets, and a favourable Law on Investment.

The effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic also enabled SSEZ activities to run smoothly, he said, adding that import and export would continue to show positive signs in the future as Cambodia’s international trade grows.

“SSEZ activities would be busier in future because, apart from favourable conditions, its location is suitable for inbound and outbound transport,” Heng pointed out.

Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia president Chea Chandara said the number of factories and enterprises in SSEZ has increased steadily, most of them being investors from China.

A majority of the factories produce and assemble furniture, manufacture components for electronic equipment, or make garments or footwear, he said.

“Through these activities, import and export would remain steady as shipments rise amid new factory openings.”

Meanwhile, Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy said activities in special economic zones (SEZ) throughout Cambodia, not just SSEZ, increased significantly early in 2022, on a yearly basis.

This is in line with the growth in orders and diversion of orders from other countries where production chains are not fully operational due to Covid-19 or political turbulence.

“There is a wide range of products which Cambodia exports today, with markets for major buyers in the US, Europe, Japan and others,” Chanthy said.

In 2021, total trade in SSEZ was valued at $2.234 billion, up 42.75 per cent from $1.565 billion a year earlier, according to data provided by the operator. This follows a 26.52 per cent rise in 2020 versus $1.237 billion in 2019.

Data by the General Department of Customs and Excise showed that in the first half of 2022, Cambodia’s international trade totalled $27.24384 billion or 20.2 per cent more than last year.

Of that, imports grew 11.9 per cent to $15.86472 billion, while exports were valued at worth $11.37912 billion, up 33.9 per cent. The Kingdom’s trade deficit for the first half narrowed by 21 per cent year-on-year to $4.4856 billion.