Government pledges to press on with DSEZ
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Government pledges to press on with DSEZ

The government remains adamant it is continuing its long-delayed Dawei special economic zone (DSEZ) project and vows to find solutions to obstacles at a tripartite meeting between Thailand, Japan and Myanmar.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is chairman of the Thai-Myanmar Joint High-Level Committee (JHC) for the DSEZ, said Thailand's government agencies are looking for solutions before the next JHC meeting, which has not been scheduled.

Any solutions approved by the JHC will then be proposed to the tripartite meeting, said Mr Supattanapong.

"The Dawei project should be not only a deep-sea port, but also a location for industrial development," he said.

The Thai government has almost finished the Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi motorway, linking Thailand to the Myanmar border, said Mr Supattanapong. The road is meant to create a linkage between Dawei and the deep-sea port in eastern Chon Buri province.

Mr Supattanapong said the government also has a corporation to build the road from Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi province to the Dawei project.

"The Thai government's policy supports the strategic project because it can create jobs," he said.

Mr Supattanapong made the remarks after SET-listed Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Tuesday that on Dec 30, 2020, five project companies received a notice of termination for seven concession agreements from the Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee (DSEZ MC).

The five project companies allegedly failed to make concession fee payments and cannot comply with certain conditions precedent prior to commencing the operations under the concession agreements.

The ITD's board of directors met on Jan 11 and resolved for the company's legal adviser to prepare a letter of clarification and rebuttal of the allegations by the DSEZ MC.

ITD and consortium partners through its five companies registered in Myanmar (the project companies) were granted the concessions for the DSEZ Initial Phase from DSEZ MC for the development of an industrial estate of 27 square kilometres, along with the necessary supporting infrastructure and utilities.

Altogether there were seven concession agreements, six of which were signed on Aug 5, 2015, with an additional concession agreement signed on March 29, 2016.

Mr Supattanapong said ITD's investment the past few years was quite substantial.

He believes the contracts between ITD and DSEZ MC will be protected under the Asean Charter.

The Asean Charter is a constituent instrument of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

A source from the Thai House of Representatives who requested anonymity said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith yesterday called an urgent meeting with representatives from the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Budget Bureau, the Foreign Ministry and the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency to find solutions and monitor the progress of the 4.5-billion-baht loan the Thai government planned to offer Myanmar's government for road construction from the border to the Dawei project.

The source said the agencies are expected to offer solutions this week, proposing them later to Mr Supattanapong.

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