Monday, December 24, 2012

Burma’s president invites Indian industrialists to invest in SEZs

Monday, 24 December 2012 14:49 Ko Pauk

Burmese President Thein Sein has invited India’s leading businessmen and industrialists to invest in Burma’s special economic zones (SEZs).

Pictured in Mumbai on Friday, (L-R) Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General CII; Mr Adi Godrej, President CII & Chairman Godrej Group; and Thein Sein, President, Republic of Union of Myanmar. (Photo: CII)

At a closed-door dinner hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai on Friday, Thein Sein informally invited CII executive members to invest in Burma.

Burma’s ad interim Consul-General in New Delhi, Ba Hla Aye, told Mizzima that the President was responding to Indian industrialists, including representatives of TATA and Mahindra & Mahindra, after they expressed keen interest in investing in Burma.

TATA is India’s largest multinational firm with interests as diverse as IT and electrical services, engineering, cars and chemicals, while Mahindra & Mahindra is one of the country’s largest automobile manufacturers.

“Mahindra & Mahindra said that they would like to invest in and develop the SEZs,” said Ba Hla Aye. “TATA would like to invest and operate coal-fired thermal power plants.

“However, they complained about [Burma’s] double taxation on their motor industry, first in importing automobile parts and again in assembling the finished product,” he said. “Our President assured them he would do what he could to resolve this.”

Thein Sein reportedly pointed to the SEZs at Dawei, Kyaukphyu and Thilawa, and urged members of the CII to invest in those mega-projects.

The Burmese President said that Burma was rich in minerals, oil, gas and energy resources, and had an abundance of cultivable lands. He told the businessmen that these presented great investment opportunities for them.

“The President invited Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from India to come to Burma as they have a lot of experience in these businesses and can offer great job opportunities for the people of Burma,” said the Consul-General. “He said that India has many SMEs in its own country and should look at opportunities of building similar businesses in Burma.”

The New Indian Express reported that Thein Sein said, “An Indian-Myanmar-Thai trilateral highway will certainly promote and uplift regional connectivity and trade.”

India is Burma’s fourth largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching US $1.35 billion during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Burma exported agricultural and timber products worth $1.046 billion. India exported iron and iron products, pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, machinery and tools worth $324.5 million during that same year, a 66.5 percent increase over the previous financial year, according to CII data.

Leading Indian industrialists who attended the Mumbai dinner hosted in honor of the Burmese President were: CII Chairman Adi Godrej, Vice-Chairman of Tata Consultancy Services S. Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman of Tata Steel B. Muthuraman, Vice-Chairman of Tata Motors Ravi Kant, Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Arun Nanda, and CEO of Zensar Technologies Ganesh Natarajan.

President Thein Sein was attending an India-ASEAN summit held in New Delhi on December 20-21. He also visited the palace of deposed King Thibaw on Saturday morning before flying back to Burma that same day.
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