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South Korean consortium to build power plant in Yangon

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By Stuart Deed
Volume 32, No. 630
June 11 - 17, 2012

YANGON is set to receive improved electricity supply in the future following an agreement signed between the government and a South Korean consortium to build a gas-fired power plant outside Yangon last week.

South Korea’s BKB Consortium, Korea Western Power Co and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co Ltd signed a deal with the Yangon Electricity Supply Board to build a 500-megawatt gas-fired power plant on June 3, the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported the following day.

Union Minister for Electric Power 2 U Khin Maung Soe attended the meeting, which included high-ranking officials from the companies concerned and took place at the Yangon City Electricity Supply Board headquarters in Ahlone township.

However, the report did not say when the project would begin, when it was expected to be finished or where the natural gas would be sourced from.

The reports said the parties signed a memorandum of agreement to build a 500MW natural gas-fuelled power plant in Yangon’s Thaketa township. The plant will be built under a build, operate and transfer joint venture agreement between the ministry, BKB Consortium and Hexa International Co.

http://www.mmtimes.com/2012/business/630/biz63005.html
last update in myanmar forum
 

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China to bring tourists to the top of the Golden Triangle area



Tuesday, 03 July 2012 12:21 Mizzima News


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China is making a major push to upgrade the tourist infrastructure in the region where China touches Burma and Laos and the Mekong River flows south into the Golden Triangle. The latest venture is to attract 15.5 million tourists to Xishuangbanna, a mountainous tropical region.

The plan is to boost services annually that would attract the tourists, including 500,000 foreign tourists, by 2015, a local official told Xinhua news agency.

Lu Yonghe, the deputy head of Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, which borders Burma and Laos to its south, said the government plans to make Xishuangbanna a major resort region in southwest China. Roads and express highways in the area are already modernized.

Xishuangbanna is part of a large tropical virgin forest that covers southwest China’s Yunnan Province and northern Burma and Laos. It is home to diverse plant and animal life including endangered Asian elephants, but tourist infrastructure is relatively poor in the region.

Still, more than 10 million domestic tourists and 290,000 foreign tourists visited Xishuangbanna in 2011.

In the next five years, plans call for establishing 10 top tourist destinations and to attract more than 10 globally recognized hotel chains, officials said.



Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture is located at the southern tip of Yunnan Province. It shares a boundary of 966 kilometers (619 miles) with Burma and Laos in the east, south and west, and is a gateway from China to Southeast Asia by land. It is the home of the Dai ethnic group and was known as "Mengbanaxi" in ancient times, a name that means a miraculous utopia, and is home to 12 other ethnic minorities.

Located in the south extension of the Hengduan Mountains, more than 95 per cent of its territory is mountainous and hilly. Jinghong City is the major southern city. The Lancang River runs through the prefecture and when it passes through Laos and Thailand it is called the Mekong River.

http://www.mizzima.com/business/743...s-to-the-top-of-the-golden-triangle-area.html



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Bangkok Airways Shelves Planned 4th Daily Yangon Service due Dec 2012

by JL


Update at 0820GMT 05JUL12

As per 05JUL12 GDS timetable and inventory display, Bangkok Airways has cancelled its plan to add 4th daily service on Bangkok – Yangon route, due to start from 01DEC12. The airline remains on track to introduce 3rd daily flight from 15SEP12.

Schedule:

PG701 BKK0905 – 0955RGN 320 D
PG703 BKK1705 – 1755RGN 320 D
PG705 BKK2015 – 2130RGN AT7 D

PG706 RGN0715 – 0930BKK AT7 D
PG702 RGN1045 – 1240BKK 320 D
PG704 RGN1845 – 2040BKK 320 D

PG701/702 operates with A319 till 30NOV12

http://airlineroute.net/2012/07/05/pg-rgn-dec12/
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What a Heck are they doing?!

Siamese King’s Tomb to be Destroyed
By YAN PAI / THE IRRAWADDY| July 18, 2012 |


The historic tomb of former Siamese King Uthumphon, located near Mandalay City in Upper Burma, is set to be destroyed to make way for a new urban development project, according to local historian sources.

The magnificent burial place, which is larger than most and measures the size of a small pagoda, is situated inside prominent Linzin (former Burmese name for Laos) Hill graveyard on the edge of famous Taungthaman Lake in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Division.

“Thai people visiting Burma come to this tomb regularly to pay respect to their king,” a local resident told The Irrawaddy. “I have heard that this graveyard will soon be cleared for some sort of urban project.”

According to Burmese history records, King Hsinbyushin (1736-1776), the third king of Burma’s Konbaung Dynasty, invaded the ancient Thai capital Ayutthaya in 1767 and brought as many subjects as he could back to his capital Ava, including Uthumphon.

“The records say the Thai king was in monkhood when he was brought back as a prisoner of war and when he died in captivity his body was buried at Linzin Hill,” Dr. Tin Maung Kyi, a well-known Burmese historian and Mandalay resident, told The Irrawaddy.

He said experts believe Uthumphon died during the reign of King Bodawpaya (1745-1819), the sixth king of the same dynasty.

The authoritative History of Ayutthaya website says Uthumphon, who is better known as King Dok Madua or “figflower” is Siamese history, was the youngest son of King Borommakot (1733-1758) and a minor queen called Phiphit Montri, and was appointed as Uparat (Crown Prince) by his father. Uthumphon also means “figflower” but in Sanskrit.

The website adds that Uthumphon succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father, but his position was insecure so he decided to abdicate in favor of his elder brother Suriyamarin (1758-1767) who was constantly meddling in court affairs.

He then retired to a monastery he built called Wat Pradu Songtham. In 1767, after the fall of Ayutthaya, Uthumphon was taken out of his temple and led away to Burma where he died in captivity in 1796.

Scholars in Mandalay have raised concerns that the new project will not only mean the loss of considerable heritage but also affect the country’s nascent yet potentially huge tourism industry.

“Thai people regularly come to their ex-king’s tomb to pay respect. I always have to clean the tomb before their arrival. They will also feel hurt if the tomb is destroyed,” said Nyein Win, an archaeologist in Amarapura.

Despite proposals from historians to preserve ancient tombs and cemeteries which are deemed historically important, the Burmese government has nevertheless replaced a large number with new buildings and urban projects.

In 1997, the Burmese military junta destroyed Kyawdaw graveyard in Rangoon, where well-respected individuals from political, economic, social and other prominent arenas were buried.
 

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Provincial Governor of Mae Hong Song (Madame Naruemon Palawat) wants to make her province to have direct connection to Nepyitaw by upgrading the following 5 Check Points for Border Trade into the Permanent International Check Points:

1. Ban Huay Phueng Check Point for Border Trade in Mueang District of Mae hong Son to allow direct connection Shan State

2. Ban Nam Phiang Din Check Point for Border Trade in Pha Bong subdistrict, Mueang District of Mae hong Son

3. Ban Sao Hin Check Point for Border Trade in Mae Sariang District of Mae hong Son

4. Ban Huay Tone Nun Check Point for Border Trade in Mae Ngao sub-district, Khun Yuam District of Mae hong Son - the first one since it is just 200 km from Nepyitaw and 300 km from Taunggyi

5. Ban Mae Sam laeb Check Point for Border Trade in Ban Mae Sam laeb sub-district, Sobe Moei District of Mae hong Son

http://www.prachachat.net/news_detail.php?newsid=1342756250&grpid=&catid=19&subcatid=0000
 

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Siam Commercial Bank PCL is making a move to set up the new branch in Burma - after massive expansion from 1094 Domestic branches with 8459 ATM machines to 1150 domestic branches with 8500 ATM machines ... with lower NPL from 2.61% of assets to 2.5% of 1.97 Trillion Baht assets.

The branch in Burma will be representative office until Union bank of myanmar has come up with the new regulation to allow foreign Banks to set up the full branch in Burma wich may take 10 years to become a reality.

The focus for SCB is to help Thai investors in Burma who are going to set up the new energy business, factories and agribusiness in Burma -

For other countries in ASEAN, either new branches or the new alliances to complement with existing international branches and existing alliances will be just fine ... depended upon the circumstance.

However, SCB declines to open the branch in Japan because Japanese investors and customers prefer Japanese Banks which offer lower interest rates
http://www.dailynews.co.th/businesss/146468
 

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Titanic to be Myanmar’s first film
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index....d-news/titanic-to-be-myanmars-first-film.html

The first movie to play in Myanmar in more than a decade will be Titanic 3-D, Twentieth Century Fox has annouced.

The film will open on Saturday, August 17 in the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma after Fox made an agreement with Mingalar Co, a local importer that operates eight single-screen cinemas in the country.

It will be the first American movie to be seen in “decades”, according to a statement by Fox.

Since the 2010 election where the dissident human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party were permitted to run, Myanmar has begun a series of reforms. They are intended to push the country away from military dictatorship and towards becoming a liberal democracy.

Titanic has never been seen in the country, which was closed to foreign films when the original love story, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as doomed lovers, came out in 1997.

Titanic 3-D has been a huge hit internationally, generating $287 million worldwide since it was released in April.

The biggest demand has come from China, which borders Myanmar, where cinemas grossed more than half of the global total, at $146 million.

“Twentieth Century Fox International is proud to be a pioneer in entering emerging markets and working with local businesses to further develop these endeavors,” the studio’s international co-presidents, Tomas Jegeus and Paul Hanneman, said in a statement published by The Los Angeles Times.

“We have noted with great interest the reforms taking place in Burma under [President] Thein Sein and look forward to visiting our newest territory when we travel [to] Asia later this year.”

Fox handles overseas releasing for the film, which it co-produced with Paramount Pictures.
 

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Malaysia's Parkson to open Myanmar's first ever departmental store

Was reading about it here today in the Parkson story featured in The Edge Malaysia and also The Edge Singapore this week.


Parkson is heading Myanmar. Under big construction in Yangon 01 November 2012




Parkson Departmental Stores:

Malaysia: 39 stores (2nd largest player with 20% market share)

China: 55 stores (market leader)

Vietnam: 8 stores

Indonesia: 8 stores under "Centro" brand; First high-end Parkson store will open at the St. Moritz Jakarta luxury mall in September 2013

Myanmar: First store will open in March 2013

Cambodia: First store will open in 2014

Sri Lanka: First store may open in 2014


Sales Growth Forecast:

Malaysia: +5.7%

Indonesia: +8.9%

Vietnam: -6.3% -> sales fell due to weakening economy

China is abit stagnant.



Parkson Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
 

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Mandalay Chamber of Commerce inviting Thai investors to invest in Mandalay including consumer products, palm oil refinery, soy bean refinery
and of course plantation and food processing since 90% of business in Mandalay are agriculture - the reason for picking up Thai investors are due to the fact that Thai investors are more polite than Japanese and the familiar but arrogant Chinese investors.

Furthermore, the factory to produce ceramic tiles and ceramic tile glue in Mandalay is preferred due to the market demands which can be done in the industrial estates in Mandalay even though Thai investors better invest on power plant fueled by agriculture products to cope with brownout.

However, Khun Thanit Sorat has made a point that so long Thai investors have to rely on the shipping instead of land transportation due the restriction at Thai-Burmese border along with the longer distance from the border, the main investment focus for Thai investors will be Yangon - despite of the threat from Chinese and Japanese investors. After all, most of Thai investors in Burma are those SME who cannot stand with 300 Baht daily wage nationwide. So, the investment around Yangon, and Dawei deep sea port or Southern Burma should be the main focus for Thai investors which is closer to Thai border.

Nevertheless, the barley plantation and malt processing along with tapioca plantation should be the main focus for Thai investment in Mandalay in addition to Hotel.

Note: Now, I have learnt the price of palm oil (1.5 litre bottle) in Mandalay is 160 Baht - well above the 63 Baht (for 1-litre bottle + 0.5 litre bottle) in Thailand.

http://www.thanonline.com/index.php...59-23&catid=87:2009-02-08-11-23-26&Itemid=423

Myanmar railway offering the special weekend trains from Yangon to Kyaitou - depart from Yangon at 6.25 AM to reach Kyaiktiyo for the Golden rock pagoda at 11 AM ... if it has become popular, the train will run daily
http://news.voicetv.co.th/global/80936.html
 

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Dawei Special Economic Zone will be promulgated as a law by the end of September 2013 -
According to the trilateral agreement between Thailand - Burma and Japan, Myanmar special economic zone law will be promulgated as a law by the end of September 2013

Mitsubishi, SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) are going to set up new factories while Singaporean SPA (Singapore Port Authority) is going to invest on the deep sea port
LG and Dongbo are taking a serious consideration but Rojana Industrial estate - ITD - Industrial Estate of Thailand waiting for Myanmar special economic zone law will be promulgated as a law by the end of September 2013 after 2 month delay.

First phase of investment is the new road from the border to Dawei deep sea port, the power plant using natural gas as fuel, reservoirs to secure the water supply and industrial estate zone.
Rojana Industrial estate - ITD - Industrial Estate of Thailand are also going to set up Industrial Estate of Thailand (International) Co.Ltd. to handle investment, first is the new power plant ... after Amata industrial estate no longer focus on Dawei deep sea port but they prefer the new estate 10- 30 km from the border at Phu Namron checkpoint desptie of the fact that they will never get the privilege like Dawei Industrial estate

The SPV will be registered company with the initial investment of 20000 Baht, now the company (SPV) is waitin for the order from Myanmar Foreign Economic Relation Department (FERD) and NEDA of Thailand to put more capitals - 6 million Baht each


http://www.prachachat.net/news_detail.php?newsid=1378401547

More about investment and its dark side can be seen here
http://daweiproject.blogspot.com/


satirical cartoon about Thai investment on Dawei Deep Sea port
http://daweiproject.blogspot.com/2013/06/never-mind-people-we-have-plenty-more.html
 

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Special RBE train (Special Diesel Railcar) between Yangon to Kyaikhto Township for Kyakhteeyoe Pagoda (Phra That In Kwaen in Thai started on 7 September 2013

Here are the ticket rates:
Yangon - Bago at 1700 Kyat for Burmese or 5 US Dollars (165 Baht)
Yangon - Wow at 2300 Kyat for Burmese or 7 US Dollars (231 Baht)
Yangon - Thienzayat at 2800 Kyat for Burmese or 8 US Dollars (264 Baht)
Yangon - Kyaikhto at 3500 Kyat for Burmese or 10 US Dollars (330 Baht)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs16/NLM-2013-09-07-red.pdf

Yangon-Kyaikto-Yangon special express train offers its maiden train service
Eleven Myanmar
Monday, 09 September 2013 20:43

Yangon-Kyaikto-Yangon special express train carrying 115 passengers has offered its maiden train service, departing from the Yangon Railway Station at 6.25 am on September 27.
The ceremony to mark the first-ever run of the special express train took place at Yangon Railway Station. The event was attended by Than Htay, Minister of the Rails Transportation and Yangon Region Chief Minister Myint Swe.

The special train will make regular runs from Yangon to Kyaikto every Saturday and it will return to Yangon every Sunday. The train fare is fixed K 3500 for local domestic travelers and 10 US dollar for foreign travelers.

The special express train service is aimed at those wishing to pay homage to Kyaikhtiyoe Pagoda. The train will stop over at three stations—Bago, Waw and Theinzayet along its route. It will take about 4 and half hours.

“Now special express train has already started its run and it is fully equipped with air-conditioners. Its toilet system and speed is in a good standard. It was imported from Japan and its each coach costs 8 million yen. It is second-hand. Its one trip consumes 108 gallons of diesel. If one hundred passengers don’t take the train, it won’t cover its costs of fuel. Now the train is carrying 115 passengers,” said Minister Than Htay.

It comprises of five coaches and can carry 332 passengers. All coaches are installed with upper-class seats. All the seats are adaptable from east to back. It has been used for 30 years in Japan. The train service can save more time and cost when compared with highway bus. Security system has provided for the trip.

Commuters prefer railway as traffic jam worsens
Eleven Myanmar
Thursday, 05 September 2013 21:58

Due to the traffic jams in Yangon, Yangonites using railway service has been on the increase with more than 100,000 commuters taking the train on a daily basis, according to the Yangon Railway Station.

Previously, only one thousand passengers used railway service as the circular railway system of Yangon was poor and there was less traffic in Yangon then.

“At present, traffic congestion in Yangon is terrible and so the use of railways is gradually increasing. At the moment, there are over 100,000 people using railways service,” said Deputy Station Master Ye Lwin.

“Average 5,000 to 6,000 people take the railways daily from the Yangon Railway Station. In one way around the city, about 90,000 to 100,000 people take on and off the circular train. The passengers have to buy the tickets showing the identity cards. Each ticket costs Ks. 100. In future, online ticket system will be introduced,” he added.

For the time being, there are 200 circular trains in Yangon. The number will also increase soon and the duration 3 hours for each circular train ride will be reduced in future. The RBE train furnished with air-con will run for the first time and it will start with ten carriages, said the deputy station master.
 

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Ten Thai firms eye investing in Myanmar's Mon state
Prakaidown Bangsantia
The Nation
Saturday, 14 September 2013 15:07

Ten Thai companies are looking to invest in Mon state, Myanmar, to take advantage of the growing business opportunities there.
They are Imac Asset Co, Andaman Seafood Co, Nava Nakorn, Mida Assets, Max Size Co, Shrimp Farming Cooperatives of Thailand, Ten Consultants Co, Ritta Co, Wang Lert Luk Co, and Cape Dara Resort Pattaya.

Imac Assets already has invested in Mon after winning a 60-year concession from the state to develop property and industrial estates in Mawlamyaing, the state capital.

It is applying for investment privileges from the Myanmar Investment Commission to develop industrial zones there. If approved, it will be entitled to waive corporate income tax for five to eight years and waive duty on the import of machinery to develop industrial zones in two locations, one occupying more than 2,000 rai (320 hectares) and the other 15,000 rai.
The company estimates that it will need to invest at least Bt4 billion on developing the smaller zone. It is it is still calculating an estimate for the larger one.

Imac president Boonsom Chindapraneekul said that as the part of this concession, the company had upgraded an existing golf course in Mawlamyaing. It is in the process of designing a hotel to operate in conjunction with the golf club, the construction of which is expected to cost more than Bt200 million. The 72-room hotel is expected to open early next year, and the complex will be named Imac Hotel and Golf Club. The combined cost of the golf-course upgrade and the hotel construction is Bt300 million to Bt400 million.
On the 2,000-rai industrial estate, it plans to develop factories for rent. Both industrial zones are expected to be operational by 2015.
Seksit Charoensethasil, vice president of Nava Nakorn, said Myanmar and Vietnam were strategic logistical locations linking Asean's East and West economic corridors. But many factors need to be considered before making investment decisions. These include legal, energy, labour, and micro- and macroeconomic aspects before investment plans can be proposed to the board of directors.

Watcharat Lelawat, deputy director of the International Institute for Trade and Development said at a seminar titled "Myanmar: Challenging Country in Asean" that in 2010 and 2011 Myanmar recorded US$20 billion (Bt637 billion) in foreign direct investment, $9 billion of which was from Thailand. Only China invested more.
 

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Myanmar: Pros and cons of investing in the region's last frontier market
Eleven Myanmar
Sunday, 22 September 2013 14:09

My visit to Myanmar about a year ago, including inspection of raw land, office buildings, serviced apartments and hotels, reminded me of when I first started working with CBRE Thailand 25 years ago. The key difference is that I now have a thorough knowledge of the property market, whereas in 1988 I was still new to the industry.
It was interesting to explore the market, trying to understand the key locations in Yangon and with the information available, predict where the prime development locations would be and how Thai and other foreign developers might influence the market.
Being the region's last true frontier market, Myanmar has seen an exorbitant rise in property prices and rents due to the lack of quality developments.
Offices, hotels and serviced apartments are the first three sectors that enjoy high demand in any emerging market as it serves inbound investors and corporations that are starting up.
It's a shock to see all three sectors currently achieving rents way above prime Bangkok offices.
In the past 20 years, the Yangon office market had seen limited demand and therefore existing supply is currently limited. Yangon's total estimated office supply is 35,000 square metres, comprising Grade B and C stock by regional standards. With high demand, existing office buildings are operating at full occupancy, with rents rising to US$85-$90 (Bt2,700-Bt2,850) per square metre, compared with $50 last year.
Hotels and serviced apartments are also enjoying full occupancy and high room rates. The Yangon market has seen land prices, office and residential rents consistently rising without a short-term remedy in sight.
With unmatched demand and supply, prices are expected to see further rises until there is adequate supply; however, this is still a long way off. While a few private developers that are already well established in Myanmar, such as Yoma and Traders, are responding to the supply shortage, it will take a significant lead time to secure sites, obtain permits and complete construction.
We don't expect the situation to change in the next two or three years until new projects are ready for occupation.
I recently revisited Yangon and noticed dramatic changes since my last trip a year ago, particularly in the number of small-scale developments. We have to admit that while Myanmar has a lot of potential, it is market for high-risk and long-term strategic investors.
There is currently an active local market, with land plots changing hands at rising prices.
New foreign investors will find the market difficult and challenging, as there is no robust legal framework for foreigners to buy land, and property development cannot be undertaken without approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission.
The lack of a robust structure and clear legal framework, the ongoing political risk and America's remaining sanctions on Myanmar are significant factors that continue to hold back the country. Myanmar is not an open or easy market, particularly for the cautious or conservative.
Investors in manufacturing, telecommunications or other non-property business ventures will work within the current property landscape.
With foreign investment poised to pour into the country, investors are facing various challenges in setting up an office, from securing office space to finding residential accommodation for its expatriate staff. Yet it is an exciting market with potential.
Thailand has significant advantages of being Myanmar's longest active trading neighbour, as well as having the right mindset to understand a frontier market. On Myanmar's part, there is still a lot to be done in terms of infrastructure and groundwork.
CBRE Thailand has been advising a number of clients entering the Myanmar market and is spearheading the firms' expansion into the country. It is not easy but it is definitely an exciting market and one where I look forward to contributing to the sensible development of the real-estate industry.
 

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Thais reduced to 'matchmaker' in Dawei as ITD set to pull out
by SASITHORN ONGDEE,
THE NATION
18 November 2013

MYANMAR'S STALLED Dawei mega-project, which Thailand has striven to get off the ground for years, appears set to pass out of Thai hands, as Japan takes on a bigger role, though the nature of this role is far from clear.

Thailand's largest contractor, Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), which is a contract partner with the Myanmar government for Dawei project development, is now packing its bags and going home, as the framework agreement signed between the two sides has lapsed, according to a source who is close to the project. "We’re now closing our camp at the Dawei site and have been asked to stop operations and leave there before November 21," said the source.

The framework agreement ITD signed with the Myanmar Port Authority on November 2, 2010 was for the development of the Dawei deep-sea port, industrial estate and road and rail link to Thailand, on a build-operate-transfer basis. According to the agreement, ITD was awarded a concession period of 60 years and land-lease period up to 75 years.

The project which is located in the Dawei Special Economic Zone in southern Myanmar, 300 kilometres from western Thailand, was estimated to cost around US$8.6 billion (Bt271.8 billion) covering 205sq km of land - 10 times larger than Thailand’s Laem Chabang deep-sea port. Along with the industrial estate zone and infrastructure, there will be development of the township.

Since the government-to-government MoU signed between Myanmar and Thailand in 2008, the Dawei project has not seen much progress, with the construction of the deep-sea port and infrastructure being delayed. Fundraising is the key. There have been expressions of interest from many potential foreign investors such as Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore, but no action. Though the Thai government has strongly pushed the project, with meetings being held between Myanmar President Thein Sein and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and later between many bilateral committees, the project has yet to move forward.

Even Japan, one of the most important potential investors, has yet to commit to taking a stake in the project, saying it needs time to make a decision. So far, ITD has built a small port, cut a road linking Thailand's Kanchanaburi to the Dawei project site, and flattening the soil in some areas in preparation for industrial estate development. It has also made payments to compensate for the relocation of local people. This reportedly cost ITD several billion baht. Many academics say the Dawei project is too big to be developed by one player.

The Thai government now seems to be acting primarily as a matchmaker, helping the Myanmar government find a proper investor for the Dawei project. Therefore, participants at the Joint Cooperating Committee (JCC) meeting due to be held in Bangkok on Thursday(21) are no longer expected to discuss ways of moving the project forward, the operations of ITD, or the progress of the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and Special Purpose Companies (SPCs) to manage the port, road and rail links, power plants, water facilities, industrial estate, telecommunications network and the township.

In an interview last Wednesday, Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpaisal's said that at the JCC meeting this week an agreement would be signed to hire a consultant to evaluate the assets and work that ITD has put into the Dawei project. Pongsak added that, "ITD will also have to stop operation until the appraisal results come out, so that the project-development right can be returned to the Myanmar government. In the meantime, ITD will only do maintenance," Pongsak added.

Earlier, the Thai government agreed with the Myanmar government to apply a concept of SPVs and SPCs to the Dawei project's management. But, two pending issues between ITD and the Myanmar government need to be cleared up, according to a source quoted in several newspapers.

First, ITD wants a small port and supporting road in the industrial estate to be part of the SPV or of a joint venture, Dawei SEZ Development Co (DSEZ), to be established in Thailand. But the Myanmar government wants to separate them from the Dawei SEZ. ITD can continue these projects, but the company will have to be granted a license from the Myanmar authorities. Second, ITD wants at least 28,000 rai of land for the industrial estate development, not 6,000 rai as offered initially by the Myanmar government.

Pongsak also told representatives of the Japan External Trade Organisation that Bangkok was only an adviser to the Dawei project, not an operator. In addition, the Myanmar government has referred to Japan as the major investor in the project. Whether a second tripartite meeting between Myanmar, Japan and Thailand will be held, following the first one in Yangon last October, depends upon the outcome of the JCC meeting on Thursday.
 
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