Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Myanmar inaugurates new economic zone

Reuters, THILAWA, Myanmar

Burmese and Japanese officials yesterday cut ribbons during the opening ceremony of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone at Thanlyin Township, Myanmar.

Photo: Reuters

Myanmar’s vice president yesterday opened a US$1.5 billion manufacturing complex aimed at luring investment and creating jobs, showcasing government work on developing the economy in the run-up to a general election.

Burmese Vice President Nyan Tun, a close ally of President Thein Sein, unveiled the first phase of the 2,400 hectare Thilawa Special Economic Zone at a ceremony at the site, an hour’s drive from Yangon.

The plan is for the zone eventually to host about 100 factories employing more than 40,000 people.

“We have missed quite a few opportunities that the other countries in the region had enjoyed. Today we are not only ready to take all opportunities we have missed but also to give all the opportunities to investors,” Nyan Tun said at the opening ceremony.

“I personally take this moment as dream comes true,” he said.

Speaking in English at the lavish ceremony, which attracted a small band of curious locals from nearby towns, he said the site would be “a great example” for the country.

The project has been backed by the Japanese government and its trading houses, including Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp and Sumitomo Corp, as well as the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Nyan Tun said the zone would boost Myanmar’s ties with Japan.

The project’s opening will also likely boost Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity and Development Party as it ramps up its campaign ahead of Myanmar’s first general elections since the end of military rule.

The opposition, led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, is seen as likely to sweep the Nov. 8 polls.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party has centered its campaign on showcasing investment, economic growth and reforms under the government it has led since reforms began in 2011.

Of the complex’s total 2,400 hectares, the government yesterday opened the first 400 hectares.

Additional reporting by AFP

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