Osaka business group to help lure firms to Japan-backed economic zone in Myanmar

The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry has agreed to help attract small and medium-size companies to the Japanese-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Yangon by establishing small rental factory spaces, the zone’s operator has announced.

The OCCI, which is comprised of businesses around Osaka, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish rental factory spaces of 500 to 750 sq. meters in rental factories inside the zone, Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development said in a statement Tuesday.

The 2,400-hectare economic zone already boasts nine rental factory spaces of 1,500 sq. meters, of which seven are now occupied.

The latest move “adds diversity to the tenant base” and is “expected to further boost Thilawa SEZ’s contribution to Myanmar’s economy,” MJTD said.

The economic zone, located southeast of Yangon, has been a solid success since it officially opened for business in 2015, with more than 95 percent of its Zone A already occupied.

A total of 78 companies, of which 39 are from Japan, have opted to locate their production, assembly or logistic facilities in Thilawa, with total investment amounting to over $1 billion, according to an earlier release from MJTD. Of the 78 companies, 24 have already begun operations.

The expansion of Zone B is slated for completion by the middle of next year and is expected to create up to 40,000 new jobs.

Thilawa SEZ is a joint-venture involving major Japanese trading firms Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Sumitomo, which jointly hold a 49 percent stake. The rest is held by the Myanmar government and nine local companies.

MJTD President Takashi Yanai said in the statement that the OCCI and its members “were impressed with efficient governmental procedures, quality of infrastructure and robust pollution control measures at Thilawa SEZ.”

“Indeed, many interested parties have asked for flexibility in the amount of space they could lease in Thilawa SEZ,” he said, adding that the MOU “provides the flexibility that will benefit all small and medium-size companies.”

Source: The Japan Times

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