New chapter for investment begins as first phase of Thilawa SEZ starts operations
THE first phase of Thilawa Special Economic Zone opened on Wednesday, becoming Myanmar’s first operational SEZ.
The SEZ is located 20 kilometres southeast of Yangon, spans 2,400 acres and is jointly owned by Myanmar and public and private sector investors from Japan.
Vice President U Nyan Tun and Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mr Taro Aso formally opened the first phase of Thilawa SEZ, which is expected to create more than 40,000 jobs when it becomes fully operational in 2016.
Thilawa SEZ currently has investors from 47 companies in 13 countries, including the United States, Sweden, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and several Southeast Asian countries.
Vice President U Nyan Tun expressed his belief that the investors will become a model of corporate social responsibility in Myanmar.
“The special economic zone is a paradigm shift in the investment sector, bringing sustainable development to the country’s industrial sector without damaging the environment,” he said.
“With new visions, new policies and new rules, Thilawa SEZ has opened a new chapter in the investment sector, which creates a good investment environment for local and foreign investors,” he added.
Following the opening ceremony, officials from Myanmar and Japan signed an MoU on setting aside an area ranging between 500 and 700 acres for the second phase of the SEZ.
Japanese company Daizen Myanmar will soon begin the construction of a logistics hub in Thilawa SEZ for the smooth flow of goods from the procurement of raw materials to the distribution of products to consumers.
Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development (MJTD), a joint venture between Japan and Myanmar, is managing the economic zone and has been recruiting companies to set up businesses in a 189-hectare section that comprises the first phase of the project.
President U Thein Sein and Japanese Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe reached an agreement to establish the Thilawa SEZ as part of the economic cooperation between the two countries during the meeting of the two leaders at the Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo on 21 April, 2012. The construction of Thilawa SEZ began in November 2013.
Three major Japanese trading houses – Marubeni, Sumitomo and Mitsubishi – and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) own 49 percent of MJTD.—GNLM