Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Conversation with factory workers in Manhattan Special Economic Zone, Bavet city, Svay Rieng province [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Svay Rieng Manhattan Special Economic Zone established in 2005

I am glad to be back here again. Today, Clement Yang with his wife and family are present […] we met in New York. At the time, (Hun) Manet was graduating from the West Point Military Academy in the United States. We also had dinner together as a family. We know each other through my son. Anyway, Clement Yang came to Cambodia to study about the possibilities in making some investments. First, he started a special economic zone in Kampong Cham. After that, he came to this place for this first economic zone in 2005 and I came to honor its creation. At the beginning, there were about 100 workers only. Frankly, the idea of creating this special economic zone was fundamentally Clement Yang’s, and he was also the one to implement it and make some recommendations to the Royal Government […]

(2) Svay Rieng has 9 SEZs, more than 80,000 workers, export size in 2022 is 5,237 million USD, equal to 23% of total exports

Starting from just over 100 workers, now there are a large number of workers. Svay Rieng province has up to nine special economic zones that employ up to more than 80,000 workers. The volume of exports in 2022 was 5,237 million US dollars, equivalent to 23 percent of Cambodia’s total exports. Who would have thought that Svay Rieng has so many special economic zones and such a large number of factories? And the volume of exports covers up to 23% of Cambodia’s exports. Who would have thought that such a positive thing could happen in the past? At the same time, for the first quarter, exports from here were about 1.2 billion US dollars, an increase of 14.40 percent over the same period. You may want to ask why? […]

(3) Economic growth in 2023 is 5.6% and it may reach 6.6% in 2024

Yesterday, after meeting with workers, I had to sit down reviewing the macroeconomic framework for 2024. We examine in detail the framework of Cambodia’s economic growth. This year we may achieve (economic growth) as planned – that is 5.6 percent. Next year, our economy could grow by 6.6 percent. It has been seen that although the garment and footwear sector has declined slightly, the non-garment manufacturing sector has increased. Like what we have here, the electronic components and bicycle have taken the forefront role in exports […]

(4) To make war on Kampuchea Krom, can there be a factory here?

Having come this far from the border, we can raise the question that if like others have thought daily of causing trouble with Vietnam, insulting Vietnam, and never stopped thinking of waging war to liberate South Vietnam, formerly known as Kampuchea Krom or Cochinchina, you may ask if there could be any factory here today? Extremist and deceived politics by inciting hostility with neighboring countries is the most dangerous policy for the country. As the leader who brought an end to the war, I have set out two goals after the war ended […]

(5) Transform former battlefield into a development area and build a border of peace, friendship, development and cooperation

What are the two goals? The first is to turn the former battlefield into a development zone and a marketplace. Second, turn the border area with all neighboring countries into a border of peace, friendship, cooperation and development. As for what have seen in this area, we can say that the goals that I set have realized since we have a great number of factories, and up to nine SEZs in Svay Rieng province, which borders with Vietnam. The question to ask is if there were a border war with a neighboring country, what benefit (would we get) from it? There would be only shooting and no cooperation and development […]

(6) Cambodia-Vietnam trade volume exceeds 10 billion USD

Cambodia’s peace policy is in line with Vietnam’s peace policy, which seeks mutual trade and investment, whereas the trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam exceeding US$ 10 billion. Previously, we exported (goods) to Vietnam less than Vietnam did to Cambodia. Now, in some years, Cambodia exported more goods to Vietnam than from Vietnam back to Cambodia. This is Cambodia’s growth and (we have become) complementary economies […] there is nothing wrong with our farmers growing crops and selling to Vietnam. Markets are interconnected. Vietnam supplies us with fuel, construction materials, and sometimes food. Cambodia can export some food to Vietnam. Goods come and go […] previously, our goal in trade was US$ 5 billion, but by the time of Covid-19, the trade volume between Cambodia and Vietnam was larger than that […]

(7) Women’s battalion built during the fight against Pol Pot took up demining in Svay Rieng province

(The policy that) I set out to turn the former battlefield into a marketplace and turn the border with all neighboring countries into a border of peace, friendship and cooperation is succeeding. In reality, what is called turning a former battlefield into a development zone? It refers to the removal of landmines and unexploded ordnance to ensure land security for the people (to cultivate). Svay Rieng has been a minefield since the liberation of the country. At that time, we used the women’s battalion in the (liberation) army that I had built when we fought against Pol Pot to take up (the task) of clearing mines in Svay Rieng Province. That is why there is this heroic female soldier Kong Saroeun (who did a great job). We used a squadron of women soldiers to clear landmines […]

(8) Border SEZs is not born out of politics threatening to wage war just to contest the election

The location where we are standing may also be a site where mines have been used. It is now a safe location for us to establish a wholesale market on the border with that many special economic zones. We do not just work with Vietnam. We have worked with Thailand on the same approach. we have a special economic zone in Banteay Meanchey, we have a special economic zone in Koh Kong. That is the (specific and realistic) policy that we have put in place. The risk and the challenge of just winning the election by threatening to go to war with a neighboring country is not an attractive and supportive policy […]

(9) No more mask stockpiling, but continue to produce protective equipment for export

In 2003, Clement Yang was the one who made the biggest profit. It was because he exported Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) from a factory in Kampong Cham. By the time of Covid-19, we had mask production base in one of the special economic zones here. I bought some and discussed how to stockpile it in Cambodia to ensure that there are always 40 million masks available. We were thinking of making a withdrawal of a certain number of masks – how many were to be deducted annually and how many were refill annually. Now we do not need to plan that anymore. However, we (continued) the production protective devices. Our country and/or market is small. We cannot use all of this product, so we produce for export needs […]

(10) From July 27, there will be 10 more meetings with workers

There are only four forums left as we approach the election campaign. During the election campaign, I will not be campaigning. I will work at home. One the polls […] on the 23rd (July) is over, I will continue to meet with workers on the 27th (July) 10 more times […] I hope to live to be no less than 90 years. At least I have another 20 years. In these 20 years, I will just be happy watching the young generation leadership. At some point, I may continue in the framework of orienting politics for the young generation, but I will not make any decision on their behalf. As of now, I am still the prime ministerial candidate for the 7th legislative National Assembly election (to respond to) your trust. The CPP is still a good choice for you to ensure peace and development for this country […]

(11) Getting hardware and software ready to attract investments to create 300,000 jobs/year

I have said it that in one year, we have to be able to create between 200,000 and 300,000 jobs. We want to achieve the goal of attracting investment to create 300,000 jobs per year. Birth rates have risen to more than 330,000 a year. In one term of the National Assembly, we must create 1 million to 1.5 million jobs for the Cambodians […] the Royal Government is working to build fundamental infrastructures, both hard and soft, to attract investments. The hardware part is we are building roads, bridges, ports, airports, building electricity for the supply of industry as well as other sectors, facilitating investors’ demand for investments, and the people’s need in the country. The software deals the need to simplify law and custom issues for instance and the organization of vocational training for workers at the state’s expense, which will be starting this August […]

(12) 284 million dollars per year into the pocket of Neak Svay Rieng

Let me ask the provincial governor what is the annual salary of workers in Svay Rieng province? (US$ 284 million per year). Where does that money go? It fell into your pockets. What has been the most important factor that make this happening in Cambodia possible? Peace is the most important factor that brings success for attracting investment as well as development in all areas. Without peace, nothing can be done. Therefore, we must work together to maintain peace to ensure future development. Anyone who intends to destabilize (peace and political stability) should not be tolerated. We have had enough of blood and tears […]

(13) RGC strives to maintain macroeconomic stability, curb inflation and keep purchasing power

Some say that when we use foreign currency (as in paying our workers), our currency will lose independence and sovereignty. You think that is right for you, but for me what I think is right too. What we did has been getting support from investors and workers who benefit from (foreign currency) wages. Just a little difference in the exchange rate will make you lose (purchasing power). The Royal Government strives to maintain price stability – in economic term they say macroeconomic stability, curbing inflation, and maintaining the purchasing power of the money we have […]

(14) Global economy uncertainty remains as long as Ukraine-Russia war and unilateral sanctions policy are not over

The (world stagnant economy) impact is not over until the Ukraine-Russia war is over and as long as the policy of unilateral sanctions is not over. Uncertainty of the global economy remains. But we must strive to overcome. Decreases in one part, increases in another. As what happened now is we have shrunk production in textiles, clothing and footwear, but we have increases in non-garment manufacturing, such as electronics. The size of our export increases. Cambodia is small but has an export volume of US$ 29 billion. In this province alone, the export share is 5,237 million, equivalent to 23% of export volume […]

(15) Expect exports to reach US$ 40 billion or US$ 100 billion

We wish to increase our exports even more. This is not where we satisfy. We wanted to increase to USD 40 billion or USD 100 billion per year. Having reached such figures, it means we increase Cambodia’s production capacity. We believe that this goal can be achieved within a certain period of time, which determines that Cambodia will leave the status of a least developed country by 2027, become a high middle-income country by 2030 and become a high-income country in 2050. In 2050, it looks like I am not dead yet […]

(16) Clement Yang’s interesting projects Clement Yang has brought me here such impressive projects. The first is the vision of “turning a special economic zone into a high-tech industrial zone using green energy within a decade.” Congratulations on this project. Second, the affordable housing project that has started from 400 houses and will continue to 1,000 houses per year. Congratulations […] I thank him – Clement Yang for coming up with these projects. We are looking for high tech technology that uses green energy. Cambodia’s industrial policy has two special points – the first is to attract investors to process raw materials for export. Cambodia has raw materials but not processing capacity. We need to attract investors to target local raw materials. Second, attract high technology to the country […]./.