Myanmar replies to Japan’s offer for cooperation in Dawei SEZ

Myanmar welcomes Japan’s offer to invest in the Dawei Special Economic Zone project in Tanintharyi Region, according to the Dawei SEZ Management Committee. An official reply from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been sent to Japan.

Japan on November 5 offered to invest in the long delayed Dawei SEZ, expected to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial zone, on a government-to-government level.

A letter was sent to both the Myanmar and Thai governments indicating its interest to participate in the Dawei SEZ, U Myint San, Vice Chair of the committee, said.

The Japanese will be involved in developing the US$8 billion, 20,000-hectare SEZ, which will be implemented in phases and include a deep sea port and high-tech zones.

A minister-level meeting is now expected between the three governments, but committee officials are unsure if this will take place before or after the new cabinet is formed.

Japan’s involvement comes after repeated delays in getting the Dawei SEZ started. The Italian-Thai Development, a Thai construction firm, was to have taken the lead in developing the project when the initial memorandum of understanding between the Myanmar and Thai governments was signed in 2008, but the process was stalled in 2013 when the firm ran out of funds. Talks and proposals to restart development, including several involving the Chinese, have been ongoing until now.

“We hope the new government will have a policy to manage delays. More importantly, there needs to be political will to drive the project forward. We hope the government will prioritise this project in its next term. With the Japanese and international community involved, the project will likely be more active than before,” U Myint San said.

Last week, Japanese ambassador to Myanmar Ichiro Maruyama told the Irrawaddy that his country is
currently studying the deep-sea port project and will consider whether to finance the project through official development assistance or other methods.

Source : Myanmar Times

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