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Japan set to partner with Thailand in Dawei project in Myanmar

Japan will come onboard as a partner in the Dawei industrial estate and deep seaport in neighboring Myanmar, a development spearheaded by Thailand, with the Japanese government expected to sign a formal agreement when officials from Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board visit Tokyo next month, an NESDB official said last week.
 
Arkhom Termpitayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) and also Deputy Minister of Transport, said Japan would hold an equal partnership in the Dawei Special Economic Zone with Thailand and Myanmar. Thailand and Myanmar agreed in January to establish the zone with an equal investment and partnership at that time. The two countries also agreed to set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) to manage the port, road and rail links, power plants, waterworks, industrial estates, telecommunications and a township.
 
The Dawei project is one of the most ambitious infrastructure development projects in Southeast Asia in recent years. The port and manufacturing center will link up with Thailand’s deep-sea port and industrial zone on its Eastern Seaboard not far from Bangkok.
 
“Japan has agreed to join the Dawei development after considering the decision for almost two years. The concept has changed, as the Myanmar government wants to develop infrastructure first and then allow the private sector to invest in relevant projects instead of letting the private sector develop the infrastructure. Japan also wants to use Thailand as a gateway to invest in neighboring countries," Arkhom said.
 
The road and rail links will provide fast and easy shipments of goods between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, and by extension the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The participants believe it will create a faster, more cost-effective alternative to shipping through the Straits of Malacca and around Singapore. The Straits of Malacca are notorious for pirates, although coordinated efforts by the Royal Thai Navy and other navies in the region have been driving pirate attacks down.
 
The project will bring much needed investment, jobs and manufacturing to Myanmar, which sorely lacks all three because of decades of isolation, both self-imposed and later by Western nations critical of its former military government. The links with Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard will also help revitalize the Kingdom’s industrial sector and underscore the importance of Laem Chabang port, already a vital shipping center in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
Arkhom also said that Italian-Thai Development and Rojana Industrial Park are expected to finalize a contract with Myanmar authorities for the initial phase of development in the Dawei SEZ by the end of next month.
 
See the original article at Thailand Focus

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