JCC and JHC hustle to fix Dawei fallout

JCC and JHC hustle to fix Dawei fallout

Cancelled contracts seen as vital to EEC

Motorcycles parked at a market near the Dawei SEZ area in Dawei Township, Myanmar. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Motorcycles parked at a market near the Dawei SEZ area in Dawei Township, Myanmar. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

The government is vowing to speed up finalising solutions as soon as possible for the cancelled Dawei contract.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, in his capacity of chairman of the Thai-Myanmar Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) for the Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee (DSEZ MC), said on Wednesday he would speed up talks with the Foreign Ministry to tackle the Dawei issue.

"The ministry needs time to examine the details of the Dawei issue because the contracts are between DSEZ MC and SET-listed Italian-Thai Development (ITD), not a contract between the governments of Myanmar and Thailand."

Last Friday, ITD submitted a request for government help to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after the DSEZ MC sent a notice of termination for seven concession agreements at Dawei special economic zone (DSEZ) to five project companies in which ITD has partial ownership.

On Tuesday, Gen Prayut said he has already authorised Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is chairman of the Thai-Myanmar Joint High-Level Committee (JHC) for the DSEZ, and Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, who is chairman of Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC), to negotiate with Myanmar's officials on this issue.

The premier has also authorised Mr Supattanapong and Mr Arkhom to examine whether the contract between ITD and DSEZ MC is protected under the Asean Charter.

The Asean Charter is a constitutional instrument to provide legal status and an institutional framework for the 10 Asean member states.

According to Mr Arkhom, the Dawei issue would be raised for discussion at JCC and JHC meetings soon.

Mr Arkhom said the finance ministry has already set aside the 4.5-billion-baht the Thai government is committed to offering Myanmar's government to construct a 139-kilometre road from the Ban Phu Nam Ron border in Kanchanaburi to the Dawei project.

Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), the state planning unit, said the NESDC has already submitted information on the cancelled Dawei contracts to Gen Prayut, adding the government has agreed Thailand should continue to develop the project because the Dawei project is a vital part of Thailand's strategy to create links with the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The Dawei project is placed as an industrial development area while the Thai government has developed Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorway as a logistic linkage between Laem Chabang deep-sea port and Dawei deep-sea port.

He said construction for the road from Ban Phu Nam Ron to the Dawei project should continue, while the government has already prepared a 4.5 billion baht loan for Myanmar to finance construction.

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