Japan to increase investments in Myanmar and boost trade: JCCM and UMFCCI agreement
Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The government of Japan understands the geopolitical importance of Myanmar and that China is seeking to increase its leverage in this nation. Equally, in many areas of the economy of Myanmar, it is abundantly clear that Japan can assist this nation in terms of capital, investments, the utilization of high technology, and respective complementary factors. Therefore, an agreement between the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Myanmar (JCCM) and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) bodes well for 2018 and the years to follow.
Prior to the agreement between JCCM and UMFCCI the level of Japanese investments in Myanmar is at a low base compared with what it should be. Hence, it is important that Japan and Myanmar focus on recent economic positives in order to build a strong relationship.
Areas of interest after Myanmar decided to open-up includes energy, industrial development, infrastructure projects, telecommunications, transportation, and other important areas. Not surprisingly, the attractiveness of investing in Myanmar means that foreign capital and business loans became extremely attractive after the political events of 2011.
Forbes reports, “Myanmar offered foreign investors relatively cheap labor, abundant agricultural resources, ideal locations for new ports, and a strategic position right at the meeting point of Southeast and South Asia, while foreign investors could provide Myanmar with much needed infrastructure — like roads, rail lines, bridges, ports — and, especially, electricity, which the country still has a severe deficit of.”
The president of JCCM, Katsuji Nakagawa, enthusiastically said, “Now our dream has come true. This MoU clearly states that we are eager to cooperate with Myanmar businesses for mutual benefits. We will discuss further details about our cooperation with UMFCCI in the near future.”
Japanese technical transfers will be targeted at the electricity sector and important infrastructural projects – and other areas that overlap with the needs of both nations. The Japanese ambassador to Myanmar, Tateshi Higuchi, reported that electricity infrastructure development, the urban development of Yangon, and transportation would gain from Japan’s promise of contributing 800 billion Japanese yen.
The ambassador said, “I strongly believe the year 2018 tends to be the light of dawn for Myanmar.”
Modern Tokyo Times reported last year, “Another important statistic is that Singapore even overtook China in terms of investment in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, for Japan, roughly twenty companies will invest in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. At the same time, three potent trading house from Japan are involved in other projects throughout the country. Therefore, Japan is boosting ties with Myanmar in areas that include agriculture, bio-resources, communications, information technology, investment, and trade.”
Investments by Japan in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone are a springboard to how public-private initiatives between Japan and Myanmar can boost this developing nation. Hence, while projects will vary, it shows how both nations can compliment each other by focusing on respective strengths and know-how. Therefore, with many powerful Japanese companies investing in Myanmar and the three main Japanese banks being involved, the future looks positive.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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