Nov 19, 2012

Myanmar focuses on investment on sidelines of ASEAN Summit

Thailand solidified agreements to establish a multi-billion dollar special economic zone with Myanmar here on Monday as the once sideliner state looks to jump- start regional investment.

A statement released on the sidelines of the 21st Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit stated that Thailand and Myanmar had agreed to move ahead with the Development of Dawei Special Economic Zone.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Myanmar President Thein Sein also signed a joint statement on the project during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit.

The project is designed to comprise of a world-class deep sea port, industrial estate complex and fully-supported infrastructure as well as a complete transport link to Thailand.

"The Dawei deep seaport together with the industrial estate and related facilities are to be implemented as another logistic and trading hub of the region in response to increasing trade within the East Asian region," the statement noted.

The planned deep sea port and industrial zone will serve as a new commercial gateway for Thailand, China and other ASEAN nations while providing an alternate sea route to India, Middle East, Europe and Africa that will reduce transportation time linking the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea and beyond.

It was earlier reported that Italian-Thai Development, Thailand 's largest contractor by market value, has been granted a concession to develop the project.

Cost of the project is estimated at 50 billion U.S. dollars with 8.5 billion U.S. dollars being needed for just the first phase of construction, resulting in the project running into funding snags.

In addition, Myanmar is also expected to hold talks with Japan and India on potential investment.

Meanwhile, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia is mapping out a multi-year economic plan for Myanmar that is expected to jump-start investment.

Over the weekend, the U.S. also rolled back decades of sanctions ahead of a historic visit by President Barack Obama.

Source: Xinhua