The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) notices issued year-to-February 28 reveal that it has greenlit 27 new private investment projects – 19 in textile-related sectors – worth a cumulative $198.2 million, which are expected to generate a total of 39,914 jobs.

Notable manufacturing industries represented among the ventures mentioned in the notices posted by the CDC – the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments – include: garments, bags, footwear, sports gear, cardboard boxes, office materials, lights, electrical appliances and furniture.

The two totals – for registered investment capital, and jobs expected to be created – were calculated by The Post from statistics that were provided individually. The actual figures may differ due to rounding.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post on February 28 that a host of favourable internal and external conditions have been fuelling increasing interest among domestic and foreign investors in the Cambodian market.

On the internal side of things, Cambodia is strategically located at the centre of the ASEAN region and boasts a young skilled workforce, while the government has been introducing and updating laws and other measures to encourage interested parties to directly invest, he said.

On the external front, the Kingdom has strong market relations with many countries, and in particular, has entered into bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with several economies that provide special conditions for the export of local commodities, he added.

Additionally, geopolitical and economic shocks and insecurity elsewhere have prompted the relocation of a number of factories to the Kingdom, Heng said, affirming that the government and private sector would be “ready” to welcome any new legitimate investment project.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, remarked that government efforts linked to the development of roads, ports, airports and other transportation infrastructure influence investors’ decisions on whether or not to bet on Cambodia, as does the relatively low risk of major natural disasters in specific areas.

He predicted that Cambodian exports would gain even more steam, driven by preferential trade arrangements offered by the US’ Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and the EU’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) scheme, as well as bilateral trade agreements with China and South Korea, along with the 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Customs (GDCE) data show that Cambodia’s international merchandise trade volume totalled $52.425 billion last year, increasing by 9.19 per cent versus 2021.

Of that, the Kingdom’s imports and exports clocked in at $29.942 billion and $22.483 billion, up 4.32 per cent and 16.44 per cent year-on-year, narrowing the trade deficit by 20.60 per cent on a yearly basis to $7.459 billion.

According to a report jointly published by the CDC and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the Kingdom in the 10,011-day period from the August 5, 1994 promulgation of the old Law on Investment and December 31, 2021 amounted to 168.8 trillion riel ($41.0 billion), rising by 11.2 per cent from the nearly 152 trillion riel recorded by end-2020.

Broken down by sector, finance accounted for the lion’s share at $9.4 billion or 22.9 per cent, followed by manufacturing ($8.5 billion; 20.8%), real estate ($4.9 billion; 12%), hotels and restaurants ($4.4 billion; 10.7%), agriculture ($4.2 billion; 10.3%), electricity ($2.6 billion; 6.2%) and construction ($1.6 billion; 4.1%), while other sectors comprised $5.3 billion, or 13 per cent.