Invitation to Report Launch on:
“SEZs and Value Extraction from the Mekong: A Case Study on the Control and Exploitation of Land and Labour in Cambodia and Myanmars Special Economic Zones”
08:30 – 12:00
October 20th, 2017
Venue: Best Western Green Hill Hotel, No. 12 Po Sein Road, Tamwe Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have been built worldwide since the 1960s to facilitate global free trade and integrate developing countries into global production and distribution networks, and have been mushrooming in Southeast Asia in recent years. They remain controversial, and are attracting growing interest from policy makers, investors, civil society, and the general public. Supporters praise them for spurring foreign investment, creating jobs, building infrastructure, and helping host countries to diversify their economies; critics argue that they entail more costs than benefits, negatively impact local communities, undermine workers’ rights, and cause environmental harm and degradation. Asking why, and to what end, SEZs are being developed in the Mekong, this report develops two case studies of special economic zones in Cambodia and Myanmar, of the incentives and assurance offered to investors weighed against the protection and benefits to local communities, workers, and the environment.
Chair: Dr. Kyaw Thu, Executive Director of Paung Ku
- Shalmali Guttal, Executive Director of Focus on the Global South
- Dr. Charlie Thame, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University of Thailand
- Ms. Sophorn Yang, President of Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
- Mr. An Rama, Project Coordinator of Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC)
- Ms. Chhorn Sokha, Head of Organizing Unit of Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
- Ms. Su Su Swe a member of Central Executive Committee of Tovayan Women’s Union
- Mr. Soe Shwe, Myanmar SEZ Watch (Kyauk Phyu SEZ)
- Mr. Thant Zin, Executive director of Dawei Development Association (DDA)
Organisers: Paung Ku, Dawei Development Association, Tavoyan Women’s Union, SEZ Watch Myanmar, Earth Rights International – Myanmar, and Focus on the Global South
Supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Asia
8:00 – 9:00: Registration
9:00 – 9:10: Welcome
9:10 – 9:30: An Overview of Large-scale Investment in the Mekong Region
9:30 – 10:00: Presentation of the key findings from the report “SEZs and Value Extraction from the Mekong: A Case Study on the Control and Exploitation of Land and Labour in Cambodia and Myanmar’s Special Economic Zones”
10:00 – 10:40: Responses from panel of commentators
10:40 – 12:00: Open forum for press and media
12:00 – 12:10: Summing up and closing
Note: This report launch will be conducted in English, with simultaneous translation in Burmese. Copies of the full report will be available in English, with a summary of the key findings available in both English and Burmese.
Light refreshments will be provided.
 Charlie Thame, July 2017, SEZs and Value Extraction from the Mekong: A Case Study on the Control and Exploitation of Land and Labour in Cambodia and Myanmar’s Special Economic Zones.