Trade volume between Cambodia and Japan reached over $586 million in the first quarter of this year, up 4.90 per cent year-on-year, despite the Covid-19-fuelled demand and supply shocks reverberating across the global economy, a report from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) shows.

Cambodian exports were valued at more than $475 million during the period, an increase of 4.4 per cent over the same period last year, while its imports were more than $111 million, up seven per cent, it said.

Chhour Vichet, CEO of Sanco-Poipet Special Economic Zone (SPSEZ) operator Sanco Cambo Investment Group Co Ltd, told The Post on Tuesday that the zone’s production and export activities are running smoothly despite the spread of the coronavirus.

The industrial park’s occupants mainly comprise Japanese companies, which have been manufacturing automobile components and electronics components for export to Japan and Thailand, he said.

“They are producing as usual and exports have not changed during the time,” Vichet said. “We believe that the export of their products in the coming quarters will be even better because they are unaffected by the virus.”

The potential of the SPSEZ is also attracting more Japanese investors, he said.

“Recently, two Japanese companies showed an interest in investing in our special economic zone [SEZ].

“They manufacture electrical components and are exploring investment opportunities in the area,” he said.

SPSEZ covers more than 83ha in Poipet town, Banteay Meanchey province.

Ten companies currently operate in the SEZ, nine of which are owned by Japanese investors.

Cambodia and Japan have jointly committed to increase bilateral trade volume to more than $2 billion by this year.

Cambodia exported more than $1.7 billion in goods to Japan last year, up 7.7 per cent from 2018, Jetro data shows. Cambodia imported more than $563 million worth of products, up 33.4 per cent from 2018.

Between 1995 and September, there were 141 Japanese investment projects with $2.5 billion in capital investment, data from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) shows.

Of these, 66 were in special economic zones with an estimated capital investment of $340 million.

Most of the projects were in the energy, electronic component assembly, auto spare parts, agro-industry, food processing, hospitality, health and retail sectors, the data shows.

Source: Phnom Penh Post