Wednesday, 26 September 2012 12:41 Mizzima News
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Burma’s President Thein Sein
will discuss the Dawei deep-sea port project in New York on the
sidelines of the UN 67th General Assembly meeting on Thursday.
The project has been having trouble finding financing to go forward,
although both countries pledged in August to back the proposed US$
60-billion port and special economic zone.
Last week, Reuters
news agency reported that Thai banks would keep the project afloat with
short-term loans until an expected Japanese loan of up to US$ 3.2
billion can be secured.
Thailand's largest construction firm,
Italian-Thai Development Pcl, signed a deal in 2010 to build a deep-sea
port and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in southern Burma’s coastal Dawei
But the project foundered, as the Thai builder failed to
secure $8.5 billion to finance construction of its first phase – roads,
utilities and a port.
“Italian-Thai has had difficulty in
mobilizing the funding. So now the Thai government has effectively taken
over the project,” Thaung Lwin, chairman of the Dawei SEZ told Reuters. “The next step is to invite Japan,” which he said is committed to seeing the project succeed.
Two trips by Yingluck to Burma have been postponed since she and Thein Sein met in Thailand in August to discuss the project.
week, Yingluck met with Thai Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong,
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul, Transport Minister Charupong
Ruangsuwan and Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan to prepare
for her possible meeting with Thein Sein in New York, a Government House
source said, according to the Bangkok Post. Officials have reportedly been seeking various governments and international lending groups to take a stake in the project.
Thai construction firm Italian-Thai Development, which singed a MoU
with Burma in 2008, initiated the Dawei project. The 10-year project
includes deep-sea ports, heavy industries, office buildings and
The company was awarded a contract, the first phase of which was worth about $8.6 billion.
contract for developing the industrial estate in the Dawei Special
Economic Zone was eventually scaled down from 250 to 200-square