Greenlit $15.6M K Speu vehicle plant revving up industry hopes

GTV Motor Co Ltd’s planned $15.6 million vehicle assembly plant in eastern Kampong Speu province has brightened prospects for Cambodia’s nascent automotive industry and reaffirmed the enormous unexplored potential of this Southeast Asian market.

In a June 17 notice, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) noted that it had approved the project, which it said would create 738 new jobs and be located just off of National Road 3 in Angkrong village of Kong Pisei district’s Ang Popel commune at GPS coordinates (11.3758N, 104.7504E).

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said the investment is a testament to the confidence that investors place in the Kingdom, and their understanding of the benefits of its economic liberalisation policies as well as bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTA).

“We’ve gotten increased investment flows into new sectors – not in traditional industries like garments and textiles,” he said, adding that this diversification would create and maintain an economic buffer to improve the sustainability of growth.

“This highlights the trust and confidence that both local and foreign investors have in our country’s economic growth, political stability and sweeping government reforms, as well as the FTAs we have put in place and those to come,” Heng added.

Similarly, Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, stressed that the new Law on Investment and other government reforms, intra- and extra-regional FTAs, and physical infrastructure improvements would be key drivers of non-traditional investment opportunities.

“The investment decisions made by companies reflect the government’s efforts. Of note, this latest project, which is in a newer industry and not a conventional factory, is an important display of the progressive development made in the Cambodian automotive industry as the firm will not only supply locally, but sooner or later expand into exports.

“Investment in the automotive sector is a long-term commitment, and will help the Cambodian economy to grow stronger. It means increased tax revenue to the government, and in particular, the creation of more jobs for our people [as well as training] in new skills,” he said.

The CDC greenlit the project just a day after RMA Automotive (Cambodia) Co Ltd, an authorised auto distributor in the Kingdom, on June 16 inaugurated its $21 million Ford vehicle assembly plant in Pursat’s easternmost Krakor district, which is expected to provide more than 500 jobs and assemble about 9,000 units each year, namely Ranger SUVs and Everest pickup trucks.

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