Japan 'mulls port investment'

Japan has shown an interest in jointly investing in the Dawei deep-sea port project in Myanmar, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt says.

Japan had expressed an interest in investing since early this year and it was studying details of the project, Mr Chadchat said yesterday.

If Japan granted low-interest loans for infrastructure development projects, the joint investment for the Dawei project would move ahead.

Thailand has tried to encourage investors to jointly participate in the port project, he said.

Mr Chadchat expressed confidence that Myanmar also wanted the project to materialise.

The Dawei project would be useful for Thailand and the region as a whole. It would present an investment option for industries in the west and north of the country, he said.

The project might not be a worthwhile investment for industries based in eastern areas of the country as Laem Chabang port was there to serve them.

Thanit Sorat, of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the Dawei port project would be attractive if it offered operators low costs.

Somjet Tinnapong, managing director of Dawei Development, a subsidiary of Italian-Thai Development Pcl, said the Dawei project was similar to a new town to serve the industrial sector. The main factor in attracting industry operators to use the port project was low production costs, he said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is encouraging Thai businesses to invest abroad in the sectors of energy, food, construction and minerals.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said after a working lunch with the executives from private sector and state enterprise companies yesterday that government officials planned to visit South America and Africa this year.

The continents are rich in natural resources and they would be ideal for expanding markets for Thai trade.

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Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook and Thanida Tansubhapol