SSEZ reports ongoing growth in 2024

SSEZ reports ongoing growth in 2024

In the first two months of 2024, imports and exports of goods by manufacturing enterprises within the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), one of the nation’s largest and longest-running industrial hubs, reached a total value of $628 million, according to a recent report by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE).

The achievement marks a 38.3 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023 and suggests ongoing momentum for the zone having also seen growing output throughout last year.

The GDCE said that the SSEZ has welcomed eight new enterprises during the first two months of this year, thus increasing the total number of international businesses operating within the zone from 180 to 188.

The GDCE’s recent report also stated that, since the start of this year, the SSEZ has continued to enhance the industrial competitiveness of its facilities by focusing on attracting investment in production sectors such as machinery, automobile accessories, tyres and new photovoltaic materials.

Alongside a strong start for 2024, SSEZ saw increasingly strong turnover throughout last year.

The combined export-import value of all factories and enterprises in the SSEZ totalled $3.362 billion in 2023, which represents a 34.86 percent year-on-year increase from 2022 earnings.

Meanwhile, the trade value of the zone contributed to around 7.18 percent of Cambodia’s total trade last year.

Jointly ventured by Chinese and Cambodian investors, the SSEZ represents a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The SSEZ was first opened for business in 2008 in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district, a partnership between Chinese-owned Jiangsu Taihu Cambodia International Economic Cooperation Investment Co Ltd and the Cambodia International Investment Development Group Co Ltd (CIIDG).

The SSEZ is the country’s largest industrial zone in terms of size and occupancy.

As of 2023, the 11-square kilometre economic zone had attracted a cumulative investment of $2.27 billion, accommodating enterprises from China, Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia and other countries and regions.

The SSEZ is also responsible for creating over 30,000 jobs.

One factor behind SSEZ’s success in garnering more industrial investors in recent years is the zone’s strategic location, noted Sisavuthara Sim, CEO of Nexus Capital & Investment Advisory.

“The SSEZ is in close proximity to the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP), which dramatically reduces costs for those looking to transport products from Cambodia to international ports such as Singapore and beyond,” he said.

SEZs, such as the SSEZ, have played and continue to play a highly significant role in bolstering Cambodia’s trade volume and revenues in recent years, and will continue to attract more manufacturers to Cambodia’s shores in future, he said.

Offering all necessary amenities for doing business and trade within the zone, along with preferential tax treatment, SEZs generally remove any risks for the investors to enter Cambodia, he said, and represent a ‘one-stop shop’ for manufacturers.

“The benefits offered to those companies by SEZs, including the SSEZ, enable Cambodia to become a preferred location for production line investments,” said Sisavuthara.

SSEZ’s trade growth in the first two months of this year also appears part of a nationwide upward trend.

As per a provisional report from the GDCE this month, Cambodia’s total trade volume surpassed $8 billion in the first two months of 2024.

In the January and February 2024 period, Cambodian exports surpassed $3.9 billion, growing 22 percent from the same period the previous year.

Imports totalled more than $4.1 billion, indicating a rise of 16.1 percent.

Exports of garments and clothing-related accessories have also witnessed significant regrowth in the first two months of the year, after some setbacks in 2023.

The period saw $842,411 worth of garments exported, representing a notable increase of 24.5 percent from the corresponding period in 2023.

Leading the list of Cambodia’s key trading partners is China, followed closely by Vietnam and the US. khmertimeskh

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