Cambodia's exports through the special economic zones (SEZs) last year increased by about 27 per cent compared to 2018, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said on Thursday.
Speaking during a visit to the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ), Pornmoniroth said the total value of the Kingdom’s exports reached $2.688 billion last year.
As of the end of last year, he said there were 465 companies operating in the Kingdom’s 54 SEZs employing more than 100,000 workers.
Poipet Oneang SEZ brand manager Ly Kimhong told The Post on Sunday that exports from his SEZ increased significantly last year over 2018.
However, he did not have exact figures on the export of manufactured products from his SEZ, which is located in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town near the border with Thailand.
“With four major factories operating in the [Poipet] Oneang SEZ, I saw the volume of production and exports grow steadily,” said Kimhong.
He attributed the rise in investment in the Kingdom’s SEZs to better investment laws, more skilled workers and a more affordable labour force compared to Thailand, as well as a shift away from factory jobs among the Thais.
Poipet Oneang SEZ currently has four factories in operation – two of which are Thai-owned, one Chinese-owned and one Japanese – employing more than 7,000 workers. Two more factories are under construction.
Kimhong expressed confidence that favourable political conditions, economic growth and attractive investment laws will continue to buoy the number of new investments in the SEZ and its export volume this year.
“I am confident that exports of all kinds of products from the SEZ will increase this year,” he said.
Goods produced in the Kingdom’s SEZs are exported to many markets including Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the US, Europe and Australia, said Kimhong. Exports include clothing, accessories, electric cars, electronics and jewellery boxes.
Royal Academy of Cambodia researcher Hong Vannak told The Post that improving the Kingdom’s international relations is key to boosting its exports over the long term.
However, he said the Kingdom must strive to improve the quality of its products and human resources.
“In order to sustain and increase exports, Cambodia needs to diversify its market and improve production capacity and the quality of its products in line with the [standards of their destination] countries,” he said.