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Yangon industrial complex on way

Kyodo

Construction on a joint venture industrial complex between Japanese and Myanmar companies has gotten under way in Yangon with an official ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony.

Upon completion in 2015, the industrial complex in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, about 20 km south of central Yangon, is expected to draw businesses involved in apparel, car manufacturing and other services.

The consortium, joined by three major Japanese trading firms, the government of Myanmar and nine local companies, plans to prepare roads, sewage treatment equipment and other infrastructure at the 400-hectare site inside the 2,400-hectare zone.

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.

During a ceremony Saturday at the construction site, Set Aung, chairman of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone management committee, said the event signifies “closer and stronger relationship and friendship” between Myanmar and Japan. He said the project will open up “a new chapter” in the history of Myanmar, a largely untapped market.

The development of the Thilawa SEZ, the first-ever special economic zone in Myanmar, will not only contribute to the economic development of the country but will also benefit people living in the area with increased employment opportunities, income and consumption, he said.

Set Aung expressed hope that the project will attract more foreign investment to Myanmar, and pledged cooperation with the developers and the investing companies for the successful establishment of the economic zone.

“We stand ready for better coordination, facilitation and to provide any necessary assistance to all the stakeholders, especially to the developers as well as investors,” Set Aung said.

Yoshihiko Isozaki, parliamentary vice minister of economy, trade and industry, attended the ceremony as a guest of honor. He said in his speech that the project will create job opportunities for ordinary local people.

Many Japanese companies remain undecided about investing in Myanmar due to procedural complications, he said, and solving such issues will bring in more investors.