ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai industry may shift to Myanmar
To prepare for massive development, Thailand needs to construct infrastructure to link Dawei to the Eastern Seaboard in Chon Buri.
The Burmese government is promoting the development of a huge port and industrial estate development in Dawei (Tavoy). The Stock Exchange of Thailand listed Italian Thai Development Plc will be a major contractor. The first-phase contract that ITD has signed for the 10-year project is worth an estimated US$8 billion. The entire project could be worth $58 billion or more. Companies planning to invest in a Dawei industrial estate include PTT Plc, Siam Cement Group and the upstream complex of a Japanese steel company.
Arkhom Termpitthayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said the shift to Burma would be a response to environmental issues both in Map Ta Phut and southern Thailand.
It is quite clear, he said, that more heavy industry cannot be located in Map Ta Phut in Rayong, while the agency's survey showed residents in the South disagreed with the establishment of an oil refinery and petrochemical complex.
For 20 years have been talking about a southern land bridge spanning Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat as an industrial development area and location for petrochemical complexes, but the talk has come to nothing.
Now the focus has shifted to Burma, and the Transport Ministry will study building a new road link from Dawei via Ban Phunamron in Kanchanaburi to the Eastern Seaboard and Cambodia.
Mr. Arkhom said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva also sought the support of the Chinese government for the Dawei project on the sidelines of the G20 meetings last Friday, encouraging Chinese companies to set up projects in an industrial estate planned by Thailand's Amata Corp.
China also plans to build a rail link from southern China to Dawei to provide another route to the sea.
The Transport Ministry, meanwhile, is expected to adjust its 10-billion-baht plan for the Pak Bara deep-sea port in Satun province to make it a multi-purpose port serving both goods transport and tourism.
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