Monday, February 3, 2014

Japan to focus on Thilawa SEZ before Dawei

Japan will priorities finishing the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Yangon by 2015 before turning to Dawei, according to Hideaki Matsuo, Japan's economic consular to Myanmar.

In April last year Japan was invited by both the Thai and Myanmar governments to join as a strategic partner in the Dawei Special Economic Zone project. Discussions stalled after Japan criticised the feasibility of the project.

"Myanmar and Thai governments have asked for Japanese investment in Dawei SEZ. The three governments are discussing whether Japan will get involved. Dawei port is a significant infrastructure project for ASEAN countries, but the problem is with the substantial size of Dawei, it is ten times larger than Thilawa," said Hideaki Matsuo.

The project was started by the Italian-Thai development company who signed an agreement with the Myanmar authorities to develop a deep-sea port in Dawei in 2010.

Han Sein, chairperson of Dawei SEZ Management Committee and deputy minister for transport has said that the government will begin inviting tenders to implement initial projects around Dawei SEZ in April.

This involves constructing of a 146km two-way road between Myanmar and Thailand, a small port, an initial economic zone, power plants, housing and civil infrastructure, telecommunications lines and water supply.

A group of companies will be selected under an international tender process that may take up to 4 months, officials told a press conference at the Myanmar Ports Authority on December 2.

"Italian-Thai Development doesn't have enough financial capacity in order to develop the Dawei SEZ on its own. In fact, no company may have the capacity to do alone such a project. Thus, foreign investors must be invited," said Set Aung, chairperson of Dawei SEZ regulation and coordination committee.