Myanmar development deal signed

Kyodo

Japanese and Myanmar companies have signed an agreement to create a joint venture for developing an industrial complex in the suburbs of Yangon expected to start commercial operation in 2015.

The consortium, joined by three major Japanese trading firms, the government of Myanmar and Myanmar companies, plans to prepare roads, sewage treatment equipment and other infrastructure at the 400-hectare area in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, they said.

In a ceremony Tuesday in Tokyo to celebrate the establishment of the joint venture, government officials from both countries expressed hope that the project will attract more foreign investment to the largely untapped market.

“The Thilawa SEZ development will hold the key to realize full-scale business expansion of foreign companies,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi said, while noting that the government will make “utmost efforts” to support the project.

Myanmar Finance Minister Win Shein said, “We believe it (the economic zone) will create a vast number of job opportunities for our citizens and transfer of technology, and also complement our national economic objectives.”

Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. will jointly hold a 49 percent stake in the consortium, to be capitalized at $100 million, while the remaining 51 percent will be owned by the Myanmar government and local private companies.

As the special economic zone covers a total of 2,400 hectares, the Japan International Cooperation Agency is conducting a feasibility study on how the two countries can develop the remaining 2,000 hectares, a METI official said.

The industrial complex, located about 23 km south of Yangon’s center, is expected to draw businesses involved in apparel, car manufacturing and other services.