The Council for the Development of Cambodia has approved a final registration certificate for Cart Tire Co Ltd’s $15 million tyre factory in QiLu Bavet Special Economic Zone in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town.

General Directorate of Rubber director-general Pol Sopha welcomed the project, saying it will absorb a great deal of the Kingdom’s unprocessed rubber, which is mostly exported.

“A tyre factory in the country is wonderful news,” he said. “We’ve been advocating for growth in the rubber industry and have invited investors to capture a slice of the industry pie and process our rubber into various finished tyres.

“Cart Tire setting up shop here will not only lead to increased purchases of domestic raw natural rubber, but to greater value-added, to job creation and the reduction of vehicle tyre imports and capital outflows.

“Establishment of the tyre factory in the country will stabilise the domestic price of rubber and curb its reliance on prices in other countries,” he said.

According to Sopha, Cambodia exported around 350,000 tonnes of natural rubber latex, with Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Singapore as notable destinations.

He said the average free-on-board (FOB) price for natural rubber at the Port of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam now stands at $1,800 per tonne.

Plantation owner Heng Sreng told The Post in October that the price was $1,500 then, while another industry insider Men Sopheak said it was $1,400 in November 2019.

The total rubber plantation area in Cambodia remains around 400,000ha, Sopha said. This includes trees that are tapped for latex, or categorised by the directorate as “under maintenance”, meaning that they are in their immature phase and have yet to deliver a first harvest.

The Post could not ascertain Cart Tire’s contact details to seek comment regarding the type of tyres to be produced, the target market (domestic or foreign) or further information concerning the investment.

According to the data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s General Department of Customs and Excise, Cambodia imported some 414,725 vehicles worth $634.98 million in the first half of last year.

Broken down by category, Cambodia imported 180,590 motorbikes worth $99 million, 192,397 bicycles worth $4.35 million and 25,483 cars worth $280.65 million.

It imported 1,212 vehicles for 10 or more passengers worth $17.448 million, 13,812 freight vehicles worth $194.47 million and 1,231 other vehicles worth $35.84 million.

The Post could not obtain the equivalent figures for the first half of 2019, but Cambodia imported 1,124,210 vehicles worth $1.882 billion for the whole year 2019.

Broken down by category, the Kingdom imported 511,434 motorbikes worth $278.28 million, 466,112 bicycles worth $10.4 million and 95,067 cars worth $827.44 million.

It imported 7,998 vehicles for 10 or more passengers worth $112.75 million, 39,008 freight vehicles worth $542.2 million and 4,591 other vehicles worth $110.78 million.