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Thai builders expect to sign deal to develop Dawei this month

Two top Thai constructions firms said last week that they expect to sign an agreement this month with the Myanmar government to begin developing the Dawei port and industrial zone on the coast of Myanmar’s southwestern peninsula.
 
The project, which has been delayed, promises to open up a new trade route linking the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand through overland road and rail systems joining major ports and industrial zones.  The route would provide an alternative to the congested and pirate-laden waters of the Straits of Malacca.  It would create an east-west corridor of economic development in both countries, and is especially needed by Myanmar, which is just beginning to industrialize and is seeking to boost international trade and investment.  Dawei’s port would be linked to Laem Chabang industrial zone and deep-water port in Thailand.
 
The firms that are planning to sign agreements with Myanmar’s government are Ital-Thai Construction and Rojana Industrial Park, both major companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.  Somjet Tinnapong, managing director of Dawei Development Company, a subsidiary of Italian-Thai Development Plc., said a signing ceremony for both firms was expected this month
 
He said that the agreement would facilitate investment by both in infrastructure essential for the first phase of the project to go ahead. It will include the construction of a small deep-sea port, an electricity power plant, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, reservoirs and a road that will lead to the first phase.
 
The 10.4-square-mile first phase of the Dawei megaproject’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will cost over US$600 million and will be a base for light industries such as food processing, the agricultural industry, and textiles and garments.  Other nations, in particular Japan, have shown an interest in investing in or participating in the development of Dawei.
 
“We hope such investments will help to create jobs and improve the lives of people living in the area," Somjet said.  Wages and living standards in Myanmar are significantly lower than in Thailand, which is a major reason that as many as 2 million migrants from Myanmar are living and working in Thailand.  Some of these migrants fall prey to human traffickers.  Part of Thailand’s campaign to eliminate human trafficking is to assist in the economic and social development of neighboring countries so that fewer of their citizens will attempt to migrate to Thailand. 
 
The Thai government has supported Learning Centers for Sustainable Development in Cambodia and Myanmar.  It is also establishing five SEZs along the border areas between Thailand and its neighbors to stimulate local economy and provide job opportunities for people on both sides of the border.
 
In June 2013, Thailand and Myanmar agreed to establish the Dawei SEZ Development Company (DSEZ) with an equal shareholding. 
 
See the original article at Thailand e-Focus

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