An expansion project of the Section 2 of the Thilawa Special economic zone near Yangon was launched yesterday, with Vice-President U Henry Van Thio cutting a ribbon together with Union ministers and Japanese officials.
The construction of the 101-hectare Zone B, has begun located directly south of the 405-hectare Zone A, which is already in operation.
Speaking at the ceremony, Union Minister for Commerce Dr Than Myint thanked the Japanese government and the private sector for their support for the success of Thilawa, Myanmar’s first operational special economic zone.
“The first level of Special Economic Zone A has been implemented and has produced export products and has recreated job opportunities for local residents. Now, As Zone B is going to be implemented, foreign investment will increase and could form more job opportunities for local residents. It is an important step for Myanmar-Japan relations which has been growing for 63 years,” he said.
“There were opportunities as well as many challenges in implementing this Thilawa SEZ. However, both the government and private sectors of Japan and Myanmar had successfully overcome these challenges to reach this far,” he added.
At the opening ceremony, U Set Aung, Mr Haruhiko Ando, Deputy Director General from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, H.E Mr Tateshi Higuchi, Mr Hideo Watanabe, the chairman of the Myanmar-Japan Association and others gave separate messages and presented certificates of honour to a local resident.
Zone B is scheduled to be completed in mid-2018, with developer and operator Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd. planning to make available some land for leasing to investors by late this year.
The first phase of the new extended Zone B take places on a 101-hectare area and is estimated to be finished in 2018. Some locations could be lent to investors as early as the end of 2017.
The first phase of Thilawa SEZ was opened in September, 2015 and the Zone B project will take only 39 months to be opened.
The reason for the Zone B extension is because of the success of Thilawa Special Economy Zone, in which many investors expressed interest. Since 2014, 78 companies from 16 countries have selected the place for production and logistics industries, and now have 24 factories operational. Currently, 95 per cent of Zone B has been lent.
The Myanmar-Japan Thilawa Development Company was established in January, 2014.
Today, Thilawa SEZ’s gross investment is reaching US$1.05 billion and will create 40,000 jobs after Zone B project is finished.It said that so far, 78 companies from 16 different countries have opted to locate their factories, production facilities, or logistic facilities in Thilawa, with total investment exceeding $1 billion.
Half of those companies are from Japan, according to Japanese officials.
The joint venture industrial complex, which is about a 23-kilometer drive from central Yangon, has been allocated a total of 2,400 hectares of land by the Myanmar government.
MJTD involves a consortium of three major Japanese trading firms — Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. — which jointly hold a 49 percent stake on the company. The rest is held by the government and nine local companies.
Those present were the Union Minister for Commerce, Dr Than Myint, Chairman of Thilawa Special Economic Zone Management Committee and vice chairman of Central Bank U Set Aung, Regional Ministers, Members of Parliament, officials, the Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar H.E Mr Tateshi Higuchi, Chairman of Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Co. and members, responsible person from JICA, Chairman of Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Co. and members, Chairman of Myanmar Thilawa Public Company,
The Vice President and members planted a tree as a symbol of opening construction.