Many Japanese companies are increasingly investing in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A few years after this SEZ was launched, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Myanmar Thilawa SEZ holdings, the Japan Thilawa SEZ Company and the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee took control of this project. Most companies entering the zone are from Japan. They mostly invested in manufacturing sector. Approximately 150 international companies have invested in this SEZ. It is hoped that this would generate around $ 1.7 billion of investments. According to Modern Tokyo Times, investments by Japan in the Thilawa SEZ are a springboard to how publicprivate partnerships between Japan and Myanmar can boost this developing nation.
China is also planning to strengthen its economic cooperation with Myanmar through investments in different economic projects and long-term plans. “The Chinese want to move their manufacturing facilities to Myanmar. Mainly, businesses from China want to set up base in Thilawa SEZ, which has been equipped with necessary power and transport infrastructure for ease of doing business. We should be prepared to respond quickly to these enquiries as this is a good opportunity for Myanmar to draw foreign direct investments,” said Than Aung Kyaw, deputy director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). “We are trying to increase more Chinese investments which can transfer technology to local businesses. This is a great opportunity for Myanmar to further develop its economy,” said Shwe Hein, secretary of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee.
JFE steel corporation factory is the first in the Thilawa SEZ B and will be a major manufacturer of steel products in Myanmar, where the demand for steel is increasing continuously and most steel products are at present imported. JFE Meranti Myanmar celebrated ground-breaking ceremony of the JFE steel corporation factory for hot-dip galvanizing and colour coating of flatsteel products for the building and construction industry in the Thilawa Zone B on March 1, 2018. JFE Meranti is a joint venture of JFE Steel, Meranti Steel, JFE Shoji, Marubeni-Itochu Steel and Hanwa. The company will invest $ 100 million in Thilawa SEZ.
Myanmar vice president, Henry Van Thio said at the event,” This event is a ground-breaking ceremony for the JFE steel corporation factory, the first investment in Thilawa SEZ B. It is a memorable day in the history of Myanmar’s industry. Furthermore, it is a symbol of the development in Myanmar-Japan bilateral cooperation and friendship, and I am happy and proud.”
Currently, a majority of steel products for basic infrastructures of all sectors in Myanmar are being imported. JFE steel corporation factory in Thilawa will fulfill the demand for steel in Myanmar to some extent. Construction works for JFE steel corporation factory is expected to be completed in 2020. After its completion, it will provide 300 jobs for local citizens. The factory will produce 180,000 tons of galvanized steel and 90,000 tons of coloured steel yearly. JFE Meranti is the second largest steel company in Japan and the top investor in Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Construction works are also currently being carried out in land plot numbers 25 and 26 owned by Myanmar Port Authority in Thilawa Port. This multipurpose container port building project in Thilawa Port is due in December 2018 and is being funded through the Official Development Assistance (ODA), Japan loan.
According to Myanmar Port Authority, Yangon Port handled 1.43 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) 1.43 million coming in and out of the city in financial year 2017-2018. Thilawa Port handled 157,755 TEU and the rest four ports in Yangon handled 85% of all the containers.
Thilawa deep sea port expansion project is being carried out by Myanmar Investment Commission and Myanmar Port Authority. Construction works on project commenced in 2018 and are underway with the completion scheduled in 2018. The $ 200 million project includes construction of two cargo wharves, an administrative facility, roads and other related facilities. This project is also being funded through the Official Development Assistance (ODA), Japan loan
A c c o r d i n g t o t h e m a n a g e m e n t committee of Thilawa SEZ, there are some 700 hectares for Part B, which will be implemented; the first stage of 101 hectares was started in February 2017. The second stage of 66.4 hectares will resume in December 2018 and it is expected to be completed in August 2019.