By Kyaw Htike Soe The Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex is set to be established on 556 acres of land in Nyaung Hna Bin Village, Hlegu Township in Yangon Region and construction of the project is expected to begin in October this year. Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun held a video conferencing with Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Myanmar Mr. Lee Sang-hwa on June 10 to discuss matters relating to the project. . The project will be developed in two phases, and the first phase will be built on 314.69 acres of land while the second phase is scheduled to be set up on 241.12 acres of land. It will be the first South Korea-funded industrial complex in Myanmar which will be built under the agreement between the two countries. The Urban and Housing Development Department (UHDD) under the Ministry of Construction of Myanmar and the Korea Land and Housing Corporation from the Republic of Korea signed the agreement to jointly establish an industrial complex in Hlegu Township, Yangon Region on 16 June 2017 in Jeju Island in South Korea. Under the agreement, an industrial zone will be implemented in Yangon Region at an estimated cost of about US$ 110 million. The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved the project on 27 February 2019 as a 60/40 partnership between Myanmar and South Korea and the industrial park will be built in two phases with the first starting from 2019 to 2021 and the second phase from 2022 to 2024. Seoul-based Kyongdong Engineering Co., Ltd was awarded the contract to draw up the project design. The industrial park will be made up of three scale (large, medium and small) industrial plots where factories and warehouses for garment products, food manufacturing, jewelry processing, vehicle spare parts factory, and electronic parts will be constructed. Besides, it will include residential, commercial, vocational training school, main roads, intersection roads, drainage system, power stations, plantation of green spaces, and wastewater treatment plants. The industrial complex will support the development of industrial, export and human resource sectors in Myanmar. Many South Korean companies are expected to make investments in the industrial complex which will create 50,000 to 100,000 job opportunities for local people and generate US$ 10 million in taxes annually. In addition, it will uplift the socio-economic conditions of local people in the region. Once the project is completed, it will boost mutually beneficial Myanmar-Korea trade. It also has the huge potential of attracting investors at home and abroad by establishing an investor-friendly environment. Myanmar has also taken some significant steps to give a boost to economic ties and tourism from South Korea, by offering visa waiver for South Korean tourists. Over 200 South Korean companies including multinational conglomerate Lotte Group are currently operating in Myanmar and many Korean manufacturing companies are now interested to make inroads into Myanmar. South Korea is a crucial investment and trading partner for Myanmar and is the sixth largest foreign investor in the Southeast Asian country with most investment from the East Asian country flowed to oil and gas, infrastructure, retail, and real estate sectors. South Korea has so far injected nearly US$ 4 billion worth of investments into 177 projects in the real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, logistics, and construction sectors in Myanmar, accounting for 4.86 percent of total foreign direct investments in the Southeast Asian country. Bilateral trade between Myanmar and South Korea was almost US$ 660 million in the financial year 2015-2016, soared to US$ 866 million in the fiscal year 2016-17, saw US$ 790 million in 2017-2018 FY, and reached nearly US$ 800 million in 2018-2019 FY, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Commerce. Credit: MNA Kyaw Htike Soe