The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) is conducting a detailed study to prepare for the establishment of the Cambodia-Japan Special Economic Zone (SEZ), following Prime Minister Hun Manet’s visit to Japan in December last year.

Hoeurn Somnieng, deputy secretary-general of the CDC, stated on February 13 that a technical discussion was held the previous day between Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak, Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Hem Vandy, CDC’s Cambodia Investment Board (CIB) deputy secretary-general Heng Soknang and a representative from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“This is the second meeting discussing the concept note’s preparation for the Cambodia-Japan SEZ. The objective of establishing the [zone] is to draw more Japanese investment,” Somnieng said.

He noted that further discussions are needed as the location for the project has not yet been determined.

“We have exerted considerable effort to formulate investment laws and incentives, including the creation of this SEZ, to drive direct investment growth in our country,” he added.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), expressed the chamber’s consistent support for the establishment of SEZs, highlighting their role in attracting financers. 

“Investing in factories within SEZs simplifies paperwork and tax exemptions under the new investment law. SEZs provide more comfort for [backers],” he said.

Heng noted that the establishment of SEZs is a model that can attract genuine investment from various countries, emphasising the thorough and environmentally considerate nature of Japanese commitments.

A report from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) indicated that in the third quarter of 2023, Japan was the fourth-largest financer in Cambodia, with investments totalling 11.3 trillion riel ($2.773 billion), accounting for 11.6 per cent of the Kingdom’s total foreign direct investment (FDI).