Thailand, Burma, Sign Dawei Port Development Agreement
Thailand and Myanmar agree to set up a joint committee to follow up on economic cooperation that includes linking Myanmar's future Dawei deep-sea port with the Thai Eastern Seaboard. The deal came at the end of talks between Myanmar President Thein Sein and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House in Bangkok.
Dawei, in southern Myanmar, is a key project for Thailand's economy, especially trade, more than for Myanmar, because it would cut travel time to the West for Thai goods (as well as goods from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), allowing ships from the Indian Ocean to bypass the Malacca Straits.
The Dawei development project is headed by Ital-Thai, the largest contractor in Thailand, and could cost nearly US$ 60 billion before final completion. It would include a 250-square kilometre industrial area with a steel mill, petrochemical plant and oil refinery.
However, the project is opposed by environmental groups and local inhabitants who would be forced to abandon their villages and traditional sources of income, fishing and farming.