Extra-territorialization: actors, territory and power relations——SEZ in Cambodia in the context of BRI

Authors: Chao YAO*, City University of Hong Kong, Jun WANG, City University of Hong Kong
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: territorialization, SEZ, power relations, planning intervention
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 6:25 AM / 7:40 AM
Room: Virtual 55
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In Cambodia, the law gives space to overseas developers to intervene in SEZ planning within the territory of the country, which includes choosing locations, demarcation of the boundary, and construction of infrastructure or integration into the infrastructure system. After the completion of construction, SEZ developers are entitled to operate the SEZ with privileged policies.

Many scholars have explored the effective control of territory with extra-territorial actors’ involvement. Some studies argue the reason could be the capacity to exercise certain territorial control. But in fact, SEZ is created through negotiations among actors and their practices. Thus, we call for more attention to the agency of extra-territorial actors through intervention in the process of planning and boundary demarcation.

In this paper, we will explore the implementation process of SEZ planning under the legal framework of SEZ. We will use 2 cases to explain how overseas developers appropriate a number of techniques to intervene in this process of SEZ planning. The first is firm to firm partnership under the flexible design of national citizenship and more share occupation of the company. The second is firm and government partnership. The developer received more assistance from the local government but took more construction responsibilities such as infrastructure construction and new village development at the same time. Eventually, we argue that the SEZ in Cambodia represents a flexible form of territorialization, which is related to a dynamic relation of the national state, local government, local enterprises, and overseas developers.

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