TEEMA to invest NT$14 billion in Myanmar

TAIPEI, Taiwan — To tap the business potential of Myanmar, the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA) recently decided to invest NT$14 billion to develop an industrial park in southern Myanmar.

The Economic Daily News earlier cited industry insiders to report that the park is in Myanmar’s southern Irrawaddy Division.

TEEMA (台灣區電機電子工業同業公會) said it wants to invest NT$14 billion to provide a base for possibly dozens of Taiwanese electrical-component makers. If it goes ahead the project would create hundreds of semi-skilled jobs.

According to the Economic Daily News, TEEMA has already signed a letter of intent with its Myanmar counterpart to solicit 1,400 hectares of land from the local government.

The association has also commissioned the Taiwan-based Sinotech Engineering Consultants, a corporate consultant, to assess the feasibility of the project.

The industrial park plan comes as Taiwan seeks to diversify its investments away from both mainland China and Vietnam where it has previously established numerous factories.

Myanmar would be a good alternative to investment in China and Vietnam, given that labor shortages and the previous anti-China riots in Vietnam have aroused concerns among overseas Taiwanese firms operating in those countries, the chairman of TEEMA, Guo Tai-chiang (郭台強), was quoted by the Economic Daily News as saying.

Eyes on ASEAN Market

TEEMA’s Guo said Taiwan is keen to focus more on Myanmar to help give it more access to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) market, which is set to launch a tariff-free trading bloc among its 10 member countries at the end of 2015.

“Once the planned industrial park is in operation, a thorough supply chain will likely be built up making it easier for Taiwanese firms it to explore the Myanmar market,” the Economic Daily News reported.

“This is especially significant given Taiwan’s lack of membership in ASEAN and the stalemate over the signing of a cross-strait agreement on trade in goods and services with China.”

The location of the proposed industrial park in Irrawaddy Division has still to be finalized, but it would include its own power plant to provide the necessary electricity, said Guo.

Taiwan has stepped up its interest and investment in Myanmar over the past year. The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (中華民國對外貿易發展協會) opened an office in Yangon last November to “help Taiwanese companies explore business opportunities.”

In June, Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (金融監督管理委員會) gave the green light for three Taiwanese banks to pursue the establishment of representative offices with a view to opening branches in Yangon, according to CNA.

Taiwan’s level of investment in Myanmar to date remains modest compared with mainland China and other countries such as Thailand, Singapore and even Vietnam. However, bilateral trade with Myanmar in 2013 grew by more than 15 percent over the previous year.

Source: The China Post

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