US investment in Cambodia has increased by 15 times in the past year, largely due to the construction of a new Coca-Cola plant in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ).
According to the Cambodia Development Council (CDC), in 2016, the total US investment in Cambodia soared to $122 million from $7.5 million in 2015. The main source of the surge came from Coca-Cola Corporation by having invested $100 million in PPSEZ to build a new factory which is expected to start operating from December 2017.
General Secretary of CDC, Mr. Chenda Sophea said that the private sector is the engine of growth for Cambodia. Acknowledging this, Cambodian Government has implemented the 2015-2025 Industrial Development Policy Plan to attract foreign direct investment and to help the country respond to changes in the region and in the world.
The effort in fostering investment in Cambodia was also pushed from the US side. Last July, the US urged Cambodia to hold the final talks on a bilateral investment deal that would pave the way for more US investment in Cambodia. Former US ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. William Heidt also said that the US is always trying to connect enterprises with the Government of Cambodia to attract investment. Despite a small number of US enterprises present in Cambodia, the trade trend between the two countries is promising. This is evidenced by an increase in exports of some Cambodian products to the US such as garments and footwear.
However, there are still challenges for Cambodia to diversify their export products and to bring more foreign investment in different fields. According to the statistics from the US Trade Representative Office, Cambodian exports to the US in 2016 totaled $2.8 billion, down 7% from $3 billion in 2015.