PM visits Myanmar, inspects progress at Dawei Special Economic Zone

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DAWEI, Dec 17 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Myanmar President Thein Sein and inspected progress in developing Dawei Special Economic Zone (Dawei SEZ).

Ms Yingluck led a strong delegation, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, Minister of Transport Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Energy Pongsak Ruktapongpisal and Minister of Industry Prasert Boonchaisuk, to follow up on the latest progress at Dawei and its related projects in Myanmar.

Upon arrival at Dawei airport, Ms Yingluck met Mr Thein Sein and thanked him for personally leading her delegation of Thai government officials and potential private sector investors to visit the site where the Dawei industrial zone and seaport will be built.

The Thai premier stressed that her government has every intention and readiness to support Myanmar in developing the project.

She said the visit would benefit the development of the Dawei SEZ and the Thai business representatives would have a better understanding of the project.

The Thailand-Myanmar Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) Development in the Dawei SEZ, co-chaired by Thai Prime Minister’s Office Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and Myanmar Industry Minister Aye Myint still have issues to be finalised including the form finance for the project, and special laws on investment promotion within the zone.

It is expected that the JCC can conclude the details of outstanding issues by February and forward details to the Thailand-Myanmar Joint High-Level committee for the Comprehensive Development of the Dawei SEZ and its related project areas (JHC) to consider and sign a new version of the Framework Agreement and Sectoral Agreement by next March.

The JHC is co-chaired by Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong and Myanmar Vice President Nyan Tan.

Thailand and Myanmar plan to start fundraising and ground breaking for the project by April.

Thai and Myamnar leaders believe that with full support from both countries, the project can achieve its objectives.

Thailand and Myanmar accept the environmental issues as important to the project.

Meanwhile, Mr Thein Sein said that Myanmar agreed to Thailand’s proposal to upgrade the Dan Singkhon border pass in Prachuap Khiri Khan as a permanent border crossing point.

Ms Yingluck said the Thai government would consider financial support for a road extension project from Myawaddy-Kawkareik to Mawlamyine to form the completed network as proposed by Myanmar.

Thailand will also consider redevelopment of the former railway at Three Pagodas Pass.

As for the nationality verification for migrant workers from Myanmar, Lao and Cambodia that reached its deadline on Friday, Ms Yingluck told the Myanmar president that the government has extended the deadline for another three months to facilitate the process as many migrant workers have yet to complete the required formality.