Thailand and Myanmar activated joint committee to jumpstart the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone



Joint panel set up to kick-start Dawei project

Piyanart Srivalo
The Nation September 28, 2012 1:00 am

Thailand and Myanmar yesterday activated a joint committee to jumpstart the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone and this will be used as role model for regional cooperation at the Asean summit in November.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Myanmar’s President Thein Sein set up the structure and elements of the joint committee during a bilateral meeting in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong will co-chair the panel with one of Myanmar’s vice presidents, and it would hold its first meeting in Thailand as soon as possible, Yingluck said.

In July, during Thein Sein’s visit to Thailand, the two leaders had agreed in principle to set up a joint committee to speed up the Thai-invested Dawei project.

This committee will be looking into issues related to the development of the project, including the securing of more land needed for expansion as well as taking into account the interests of communities living in and around the project area.

A sub-committee comprising officials at a lower level would be set up to work out details of cooperation on the project, Yingluck told reporters after the meeting.

The Dawei project has been making slow progress since Thailand and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2008 to develop an industrial estate and deep seaport in Myanmar. Construction giant Italian-Thai Development obtained a concession to build a 250-square-kilometre special economic zone in the area, but lacked financial resources to turn it into a reality.

Then in July, Yingluck’s government signed another MoU with Myanmar on the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone and related project areas in order to boost confidence and the joint committee was created under this MoU.

Now, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has been tasked with exploring all possibilities to help find investments for the project, which is expected to cost a total of US$80 billion (Bt2.47 trillion). Italian-Thai Development is committed to investing at least Bt300 billion in the first phase.

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Click here for related article in the Irrawaddy Dawei in Doubt as Thai Port Talk Grows]

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