October 20, 2017

Dawei SEZ project back on track

The site of the Dawei Special Economic Zone project on the Andaman Sea in Taninthayi Region. Photo:MNA

The once-suspended Dawei SEZ project that could result in thousands of jobs along the Myanmar -Thailand border is back on track after years of fits and starts.
A high-level committee and a task force have been formed in order to re-start and speed up the Dawei Special Economic Zone, it was learnt yesterday.
In the last few months, the SEZ committee has had more interaction with Italian-Thai Development (ITD) Plc, one of the firms forming a consortium of private developers that signed a concession agreement with the government in 2015.
The consortium includes ITD, a Japanese-Thai joint venture Rojana Industrial Park Plc and LNG Plus International Co., Ltd. also from Thailand.
The Dawei SEZ that includes a highway and a deep-sea port has been in the works for years. Myanmar and Thailand first signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the area in 2008, and two years later Myanmar granted a 60-year concession to ITD to develop a deep-sea port, industrial estate, and road and rail links to Thailand’s Kanchanaburi.
ITD then withdrew from the agreement in 2013 citing financial difficulties, before resigning the concession agreement in 2015.
Formed on 28 February, the new committee and task force will re-start the joint project between Thailand and Myanmar that aims to link the Andaman Sea to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand, the President’s office said.
The Myanmar High Level Committee on Implementation of Dawei SEZ and its related projects is chaired by Vice-President U Henry Van Thio, with Union Ministers from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, the Ministry of Electric Power and Energy, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Ministry of Construction, Chief Minister of Taninthayi Region, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Union Attorney-General as members, with Union Minister for Commerce as Secretary, and chairman of management committee of Dawei SEZ as Joint-Secretary.
The task force on Dawei SEZ construction is chaired by the Union Minister for Commerce, with Deputy Ministers from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Planning and Finance; Union Minister for Planning and Finance of Taninthayi Region Cabinet, permanent secretaries from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, the Ministry of Electric Power and Energy, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and directors-general from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Union Attorney General as members and chairman of management committee of Dawei SEZ as secretary and director-general of Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization, the Ministry of Commerce as joint secretary.
The highway that is part of the project would link Dawei with Bangkok and the Greater Mekong Subregion, while the deep-sea port would link Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with India, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, significantly shortening the time of transportation and eliminating the need to ship around Singapore through the Malacca Straits.—GNLM

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