PHNOM PENH, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The value of imports and exports passing through the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) in Cambodia reached 2.22 billion U.S. dollars in the first eight months of 2023, a year-on-year increase of 27.3 percent, said an operator's press statement on Thursday.
Jointly ventured by Chinese and Cambodian investors, the SSEZ is a flagship project in Cambodia under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
"The trade volume through the SSEZ accounted for approximately 6.96 percent of Cambodia's total trade volume, and continues to maintain rapid growth," the statement said.
The statement said the SSEZ's high trade growth is eye-catching in the context of Cambodia's total international trade falling by 14.5 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of this year.
SSEZ's president Chen Jiangang said the economic zone has become an engine of Cambodia's economic development.
"The growth shows that the SSEZ's efforts in optimizing the industrial structure have begun to bear fruit, and development momentum has been further released," he said.
The 11-square-km economic zone has so far accommodated some 175 companies from China, the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and other regions, creating nearly 30,000 jobs.
Neak Chandarith, director of the Cambodia 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Research Center, said the SSEZ is situated near the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, which is very convenient for trade between Cambodia and the rest of the world.
"The SSEZ, along with other BRI projects, have been playing a crucial role in helping Cambodia achieve its ambitious goals of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030 and a high-income nation by 2050," he told Xinhua.