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CDC fast-tracks work on auto, electronics industry roadmap

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Public Works and Transport minister Sun Chanthol at the launch of an electronic vehicle (EV) charging point at his ministry on March 26. MPWT

CDC fast-tracks work on auto, electronics industry roadmap

The government is revving up the preparation of an official singular roadmap for the development of the automotive and electronics sectors, which industry insiders expect will provide additional tax incentives to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption and imports.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) noted in a July 13 statement that it held a meeting one day earlier with relevant ministries as well as public and private institutions to collect input on the draft roadmap.

The gathering also solicited comments and recommendations on edits to the Khmer-language edition of the roadmap, as advised by the Economic and Financial Policy Committee (EFPC) at an April 19 meeting, for the CDC-led Executive Committee (EC) to make before resubmission to the EFPC.

Earlier this year, the council revealed that the document seeks to raise automotive and electronics exports past $2 billion and create more than 22,000 new jobs over the next five years.

CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea said in the July 13 statement that the “excellent” input provided by stakeholders throughout the development of the roadmap would convert it into a more comprehensive instrument that more competently transforms Cambodia into a components and electronics manufacturing hub and major exporter at both the regional and global levels.

“The government has identified the automotive and electronics sectors as promising priorities in the integration into regional and global value chains, as well as to boost economic diversification,” he said.

Although not present at July 12’s gathering, Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF) president Tan Monivann told The Post that the private sector has provided insights at every meeting, and requests the EC to provide clear, timely information concerning work on the roadmap for businesses to better prepare in advance for any changes.

The CAIF also asks the government to provide local automakers with tax incentives and other benefits, in line with its policy to maximise EV use through to 2030, he said.

“For Cambodia, the automotive sector is lucrative, and earns tonnes of tax revenue for the state. Were the government to provide too many tax preferences, that would compromise state revenues. As for the private sector, we indeed want incentives and tax breaks for local new-car manufacturers and importers,” Monivann added.

For context, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol earlier unveiled ambitions to push up the share of electric cars and motorcycles on the road to 40 and 70 per cent, respectively, in Cambodia by 2050, in line with the Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and other government plans.

RMA (Cambodia) Plc CEO Ngorn Saing posited that EV’s easy-to-use nature is attracting greater interest from Cambodians, but conceded that the domestic market remains limited, with shoppers hesitant to buy the vehicles due to a lack of charging infrastructure and concerns around resale options and value.

As an example, Saing shared that RMA Cambodia had imported four Jaguar EVs that took two years to sell, which went for $130,000-170,000 per unit. He, however, declined to disclose the profit made on each vehicle, when asked by The Post.

“When we brought in the EVs, there was a lot of interest from customers, but they were reluctant to buy, with most citing concerns about the resale market. By the same vein, there aren’t many power charging points yet, which would make them even more hesitant to buy these cars,” he said.

Still, Saing said RMA Cambodia is keen to import more EVs, and noted that the company has set up two charging points – one in Phnom Penh and another in Siem Reap.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on July 8 noted that it has held talks on installing EV charging points with major oil companies Sokimex, Total, Tela, Caltex and PTT, and added that energy giant Chevron plans to set up 300 kiosks in the next three years.

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