Japan weighs in on Dawei SEZ project

Japan pledged to take part in Dawei Special Economic Zone project and the Italian-Thai company plans to operate smaller projects, according to Aye Myint, chairperson of the special working committee for Dawei SEZ.

“We’re holding talks with the Italian-Thai and its partner company to operate some smaller projects such as roads, ports, housing, mini industrial zones, and so on,” said Aye Myint.

The evaluation of how much importance the project can have an impact along Mekong-India corridor, the size of industrial segment included in the whole project, the participation of the government and the private sector, and the environmental and social impact assessments are being conducted in the first step.

“Japan will join the project in the second step,” Aye Myint added.

Dawei SEZ Project – kicked off since 2008 – sees stagnant development and the main investor Italian-Thai Co later decided to pull out due to financial difficulties.

The Special Purpose Vehicle 1, the core company of the project, registered the zone in Thailand despite having a joint venture with Myanmar. Concerns rose following the registration whether the SEZ will be fully controlled by Thailand.

Aye Myint, however, explained that the project would be under Myanmar’s administration.

A delegation led by the chairperson Aye Myint met with Norihiko Ishiguro, deputy minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japanese industrialists and other relevant officials on October 14 seeking their assistance to revive the economic zone.

Japanese experts agreed to conduct three studies worth US$700,000 next year to find a way to revive the Dawei SEZ.

The studies will focus on developing Myanmar industrial sector and the economic corridor at the south of Mekong-India region, enriching the SEZ with required technical know-how, and funding it by collaborating with the government and private sector.

The Dawei SEZ is due to be finalised at the end of 2015 through seven projects: two-way road, mini harbour, industrial zone, power plant, housing, town planning, water supply and communication system with the estimated investment value of $8 billion.


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