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Japan, Thailand ‘hesitating’ on Dawei

A small port is built for temporary use at a site for a billion dollar industrial estate in Dawei district in Burma, 10 May 2012. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Speaking in Burma’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Kan Zaw announced that Japan and Thailand – assumed to be the prime investors in the Dawei deep-sea port project in Tenasserim – are hesitating.

Responding to a question from MP Aung Soe of Launglon Township in Tavoy (Dawei), Kan Zaw said “implementation is taking place on a step-by-step basis as the project area is immense.”

He said the initial phase of the project will be completed within the next year and will be followed up with another three-year phase, adding that “potential investors” are hesitating on moving ahead with the special economic zone (SEZ), which is estimated to cost some US$50 billion.

Japan has recently focused its attention on attracting investment for the Thilawa SEZ, situated farther north on Burma’s eastern Andaman coast and with a viable port situated close to Rangoon.

The Dawei SEZ has been put on hold several times, while Naypyidaw has advertised quietly for other investors.

Thai construction giant Italian-Thai Co initially had the contract to implement the Dawei project, but it pulled out last year over a series of setbacks and a failure to attract investment.