Japanese firm inks deal to develop Lao special economic zone

Published on May 13, 2013

Japan’s Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Company Limited (Phnom Penh SEZ) will partner with the Namtha Road and Bridge Construction Company Limited (NCC) to develop Zone B of the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone (SaSEZ).

The tripartite joint venture agreement was signed on Friday in Vientiane between the NCC, Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA), and PPSEZ.

Chief Executive Director of SEZA Mr Buakham Sisoulath, Chief Executive Officer of Phnom Penh SEZ Mr Hiroshi Uematsu, and President Chief Executive Officer of NCC Mr Khampeung Thongsaba represented the parties signing the agreement.

Minister to the Government Office and Permanent Member of the Lao National Committee for Special and Specific Economic Zones Management, Mr Bounpheng Mounphoxay, and Charge d’Affaires of the Japanese Embassy to Laos, Mr Iso Masato, witnessed the signing.

Chief Executive Director of SEZA Mr Buakham Sisoulath (left) and Mr Hiroshi Uematsu shake hands after signing the agreement.

Chief Executive Director of SEZA
Mr Buakham Sisoulath (left) and Mr Hiroshi Uematsu
shake hands after signing the agreement.

Member of the NCC Board of Developers for Zone B of the SEZ, Mr Vannada Phommasthit, said many companies had expressed interest in setting up a production base in the SaSEZ, so there was an urgent need for the development of the required infrastructure, public utilities and facilities.

SaSEZ’s Zone B covers an area of 220 hectares and two Japanese companies are now building factories on the site. One of these is the Nikon Corporation, which is building a factory under the name of Nikon Lao Co., Ltd.

“The roof is now going on and the company hopes to complete construction in August and to begin operations a month later,” Mr Vannada said.

Nikon’s operations in Laos open the door for at least 20 companies from the Nikon group to also set up business here.

The agreement allows the parties to jointly develop, manage and operate the project (SaSEZ’s Site B) by setting up the required infrastructure, public utilities and facilities of the highest standards to meet and serve both foreign and domestic investment needs.

With PPSEZ joining the SEZA and NCC in the development, the tripartite cooperation will set up a new joint venture company named Savan-Japan Joint Development Company Limited with the aim of listing on the Lao stock exchange within the next three years.

In her remarks at the si gning ceremony, Deputy Minister to the Government Office and Vice Chairperson of the National Committee for Special and Specific Economic Zones Management, Ms Bouatha Khattiya, said “Today’s signing will enhance the cooperation between Laos and Japan and build the SaSEZ as a model of economic cooperation and development. This is something the Lao government has had in mind for a long time.”

Mr Masato commented on the special characteristics of Japanese business operators, saying they take a long time to deliberate before making an investment decision because they consider not only the short-term view but also look at potential turnover in the long-term.

“The establishment of the Savan-Japan economic zone will help to develop the Lao economy in ways that are both direct and indirect.

These include job creation and the building of a modern town that is a technological hub,” Mr Masato said through an interpreter.

Source: Vientiane Times
May 13, 2013