Phnom Penh: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has pumped in more than $11 billion into Southeast Asia this year, almost doubling the amount of investment from the second half of last year, according to a new Chinese investment report by Maybank.
Most of the new BRI contracts over the first six months of the year went to Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Chinese investment and infrastructure contracts to Cambodia for the first half of 2019 equaled $2.53 billion, according to Maybank.
Indonesia received the most Chinese investment this year with contracts valued at over $3 billion.
Vietnam also was near the top of the list with investments over $1.5 billion this year, a 200 percent increase.
According to analysts involved in Maybank’s China Global Investment Tracker, increased Chinese investments into Southeast Asia largely stems from the US-China trade war where firms are actively looking to relocate parts of their supply chain into the ASEAN region to avoid US tariffs.
The US is Cambodia’s second largest market and enjoys free trade access under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) trade agreement.
US trade with the Kingdom increased to over one billion dollars in the first quarter of this year. Cambodia exported $1.12 billion worth of goods to the US from January to March. Exports last year during the same period equaled $903.6 million. The Kingdom’s exports to the US totaled at $3.8 billion last year.