Myanmar to restart Special Economic Zone

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Yangon, March 3 (IANS) Myanmar has formed a high-level committee and task force to restart the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tanintharyi region which was once suspended for years, the media reported on Friday.

The SEZ committee for implementation of the Myanmar-Thai joint project to link the Andaman Sea to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand is chaired by Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Xinhua news agency reported.

Over the last few months, the SEZ committee has had more interactions with the Italian-Thai Development (ITD), one of the firms forming a consortium of private developers that signed a concession agreement with the government in 2015.

The consortium consists of ITD, a Japanese-Thai joint venture Rojana Industrial Park Plc and LNG Plus International Co, also from Thailand.

Myanmar and Thailand first signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the area in 2008 and two years later the country granted a 60-year concession to ITD to develop a deep-sea port, industrial estate, road and rail links to Thailand's Kanchanaburi.

Due to financial difficulties, ITD then withdrew from the agreement in 2013 before resigning the concession agreement in 2015.

The highway which is part of the project would link Dawei with Bangkok and the Greater Mekong Subregion, while the deep-sea port would link Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with India, the Middle east, Europe and Africa.

It will significantly shorten the time of transportation and eliminate the need to ship around Singapore through the Malacca Strait.

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