YANGON, MYANMAR – A ceremony was held Wednesday to mark the partial opening of the Thilawa special economic zone, a huge industrial complex being built near Yangon, Myanmar.
Already 47 foreign companies, including 24 Japanese businesses, have decided to set up in the zone, which is being developed with partial Japanese state and private-sector support.
Auto parts makers and suppliers of construction materials are among enterprises lured by preferential measures such as exemption from foreign capital restrictions and tax breaks.
In a speech at the ceremony, Finance Minister Taro Aso said that with high-quality infrastructure and international environmental standards, the Thilawa special zone should become “the gateway to the Myanmar market for Japanese companies.”
The special zone’s development has been promoted by Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd., in which the three major Japanese traders — Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. — and the government-affiliated Japan International Cooperation Agency hold a 49 percent stake. The rest of the capital was put up by Myanmar.
Most of the zone’s infrastructure, such as a thermal power plant, power grids, gas pipelines, a port and roads, has been built under JICA’s yen-loan programs.