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Japan hopes to draw more U.S. investors to Myanmar industrial park

YANGON — Japan expects to draw more U.S. investors to an industrial park it developed with the Myanmar government and Japanese companies three years ago.The ambassadors of Japan and the United States toured the site at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone on Thursday on the outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon.


Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Maruyama said both Washington and Tokyo realize the importance of economic development in Myanmar and want to contribute in view of increasing global concerns about the country’s political situation.


“We had a joint visit today to see the success of this project and consider where we can collaborate for the country’s economic development,” Maruyama told news media after touring factories in the first phase of the SEZ. The industrial park covers 405 hectares of the total 2,400 hectares of land allocated for the SEZ.


It was U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel’s first visit to the zone since arriving in Myanmar in March 2016.


He told NNA that many U.S. companies see investment opportunities in Myanmar and have the same general concerns as other foreign firms.


“The companies see a lot of growth opportunities,” said Marciel. “They see workers who are very energetic and enthusiastic. That’s very attractive.”


He added that a range of sectors could attract U.S. investors and that the U.S. government would continue to encourage companies to come and look for opportunities in the country.


He noted, however, that Myanmar still has work to do to improve its business environment and address difficult and sensitive political issues, including the ethnic conflict in its western state Rakhine, and high-profile court decisions related to press freedom and human rights.


Nearly 90 cases of investment have been permitted for phase one of the project with only one U.S. company among 39 factories in operation. American packaging and aerospace firm Ball Corp. opened its factory in Thilawa in November 2016.

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