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Burma's economic relations with Thailand

Individual Documents

Title: Government signs Dawei agreement with ITD – again
Date of publication: 07 August 2015
Description/subject: "The new consortium includes ITD, Japanese-Thai joint venture Rojana Industrial Park Public Company and LNG Plus International Company, also from Thailand, according to a statement by Damien Dujacquier, a partner at consultant Roland Berger. Late last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed he would support the economic zone in Tanintharyi Region which aims to link the Andaman Sea to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand. However, there was no mention of Japan’s participation in the August 5 statement. “The agreement marks a significant milestone in Myanmar’s economic development,” said Mr Dujacquier. “The zone is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the long term and contribute up to 5 percent of Myanmar’s GDP [gross domestic product] by 2045.” The ambitious project has been in the works for many years. The governments of Myanmar and Thailand first signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the area in 2008, then in 2010 Myanmar granted a 60-year concession to ITD to develop a deep sea port, industrial estate, and road and rail link to Thailand..."
Author/creator: Clare Hammond
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times" (English)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2015

Title: Myanmar seeks new Dawei SEZ partners
Date of publication: 03 December 2013
Description/subject: "Myanmar is allowing international investors to bid for a mammoth project to develop a special economic zone in its southernmost region following the withdrawal of the sole developer, a Thai company, which had been unable to secure partners for the venture, an official said on Monday. Chairman of the Management Committee of Dawei SEZ Han Sein told a press conference in Yangon that developer Italian-Thai Development Pcl - Thailand's largest construction group - had terminated its work on the project in Myanmar's Tanintharyi region to make way for international bidders. "Myanmar Port Authorities [MPA] and Italian-Thai had an agreement in place to work on this project previously," Han Sein, who is also Myanmar's deputy minister of transport, said at the MPA office. "We ended this [agreement] because we want [to open the project up to] international investment," he said. Plans for the Dawei SEZ include a deep-sea port, industrial zone, steel plant, fertilizer plant, coal and natural gas-fired power plant and water supply system. The SEZ will have a motorway linked to Thailand's Kanchaburi province, as well as a railroad hub, links to oil and gas pipelines, and electrical cable lines..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Lwin Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 May 2014

Title: Dawei helps Thailand become auto hub
Date of publication: 01 August 2012
Description/subject: "The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has thrown its full support behind a rail network linking Laem Chabang with Dawei on Myanmar's eastern coast. The TDRI says the route will support Thailand's ambition of becoming the region's automotive and logistics hub. However, Narong Pomlaktong, the TDRI's research director of transport and logistics, said the 427-kilometre route should be extended by another 877 km to connect with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Bangkok Post"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 August 2012

Title: Complaint letter to Burma government about value of agricultural land destroyed by Tavoy highway
Date of publication: 24 July 2012
Description/subject: "The complaint letter below, signed by 25 local community members, was written in July 2011 and raises villagers' concerns related to the construction of the Kanchanaburi – Tavoy [Dawei] highway linking Thailand and the Tavoy deep sea port. Villagers described concerns that the highway would bisect agricultural land and destroy crops under cultivation worth 3,280,500 kyat (US $3,657). In response to these concerns, local community members formed a group called the 'Village and Public Sustainable Development' to represent villagers' concerns and request compensation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (96K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/khrg12b69.pdf
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012

Title: ADB: Don't rush Dawei - Sufficient time needed to do it right
Date of publication: 22 June 2012
Description/subject: "The capital-intensive Dawei project in Myanmar needs time to ensure adequate preparation, while investment and assurance from relevant governments are also critical, says the Asian Development Bank. The ADB, which is part of the Greater Mekong Subregion secretariat, has concluded that the GMS's Southern Economic Corridor should be extended to include Dawei on Myanmar's eastern coast, said Arjun Goswami, the bank's director of regional cooperation and operations coordination in Southeast Asia. But he said this type of large infrastructure project requires time for good preparation and careful planning. For example, the preparation stage for the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Laos lasted 10 years. "The project needs to complete all feasibility studies including environmental and social impact assessments as well as due diligence. You should not rush into it," Mr Goswami told Euromoney's Greater Mekong Investment Forum..."
Author/creator: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Bangkok Post"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 23 June 2012

Title: NO RIGHTS TO KNOW: The Collective Voices of Local People from the Dawei Special Economic Zone
Date of publication: April 2012
Description/subject: "...The Dawei Special Economic Zone (Dawei SEZ) will be implemented with a joint venture between Thai companies and Burmese companies and business cronies close to the regime. Accordingly to the source from Rangoon (Yangon), one of the regime’s closest cronies, Max Myanmar Company headed by Zaw Zaw, have already been awarded huge contracts related to the Dawei project along with Italia-Thai company. Zaw Zaw also accompanied with Burma’s top generals on a tour of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in China in 2011...The Tavoy deep seaport and special industries lie in Yebyu township and is between Tavoy town in the south and Yatana pipeline in the north. 213.7 square meters comprises two town quarters in Yebyu Town, 11 village tracks in Yebyu Township and one village track in eastern part of project site in Long-lon Township. In the project site, a population of 30,000 will be directly affected, comprising of 21 communities and about 5,500 families. In order to go ahead with the project the Burmese government authorities and the companies will move the communities out to make way for the project site. The ethnic Tavoyan people are the majority affected population in coastal areas and many Karen communities in the eastern part of project site will be seriously affected by the dam construction and road construction to Thailand. However, when the Dawei Project Watch’s (DPW) field workers (reporters) traveled to the area and conducted interviews especially with the Tavoyan and Mon villagers they found that the villagers had no idea what would happen to them..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Dawei Project Watch
Format/size: pdf (8.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/N0_Rights_to_Know-Dawei-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 June 2012

Title: Boom or Bust?
Date of publication: August 2010
Description/subject: The Burmese junta is moving ahead with the Myawaddy special economic zone, which may or may not benefit the DKBA... "The Burmese military regime has long talked about, but never implemented, a special economic zone (SEZ) near the Burma-Thailand border. But the junta’s cabinet recently approved the official creation of the SEZ, along with a plan to increase investment in the project. This could result in a business boom for Col. Chit Thu and his Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) cronies who control the area surrounding the SEZ and have already established their own commercial empire on the border. But if the project is too successful, it could turn into a bust for Chit Thu, because the junta might want to keep control in the hands of its own generals..."
Author/creator: Alex Ellgee
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 August 2010

Title: Border Industry in Myanmar: Turning the Periphery into the Center of Growth
Date of publication: October 2007
Description/subject: ABSTRACT: "The Myanmar economy has not been deeply integrated into East Asia's production and distribution networks, despite its location advantages and notably abundant, reasonably well-educated, cheap labor force. Underdeveloped infrastructure, logistics in particular, and an unfavorable business and investment environment hinder it from participating in such networks in East Asia. Service link costs, for connecting production sites in Myanmar and other remote fragmented production blocks or markets, have not fallen sufficiently low to enable firms, including multi-national corporations to reduce total costs, and so the Myanmar economy has failed to attract foreign direct investments. Border industry offers a solution. The Myanmar economy can be connected to the regional and global economy through its borders with neighboring countries, Thailand in particular, which already have logistic hubs such as deep-sea ports, airports and trunk roads. This paper examines the source of competitiveness of border industry by considering an example of the garment industry located in the Myanmar-Thai border area. Based on such analysis, we recognize the prospects of border industry and propose some policy measures to promote this on Myanmar soil." Keywords: Myanmar (Burma), Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), regional cooperation, border industry, cross-border trade, migrant workers, logistics, center-periphery JEL classification: F15, F22, J31, L67
Author/creator: Toshihiro Kudo
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies (IDE Discussion Paper 122)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 April 2008

Title: Why Thailand?
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: Energy for Thailand, Tragedy for Burma: Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Burma... Main Expenses of the Military Regime... Main Sources of Regime's Income The Burma Connection...
Author/creator: Sann Aung, ANDREW HIGGINS
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burmese American Democratic Alliance (BADA)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 September 2010

Title: Straining to Bridge the Divide
Date of publication: February 2006
Description/subject: In building a new “Friendship Bridge,” Thailand and Burma hope to consign their troubles to the past and increase cross-border trade... "Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win and his Thai counterpart, Kantathi Suphamongkhon, shook hands and smiled warmly. The January 22 opening of the second “Friendship Bridge”—connecting the Thai town of Mae Sai and, across the river in Burma, Tachilek—would help promote cross-border contact and “alleviate” the tense relationship between the two countries, they said. It should also provide a massive boost to trade relations between the traditionally wary neighbors..."
Author/creator: Clive Parker
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No.2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006

Title: The Regional Development Policy of Thailand and Its Economic Cooperation with Neighboring Countries
Date of publication: July 2005
Description/subject: Abstract: "Thailand has recently strengthened its economic policy toward its neighboring countries in coordination with domestic regional development. It is widely recognized that economic cooperation with neighboring countries is essential in preventing the inflow of illegal labor and effectively utilizing labor and resources through the relocation of production bases. This direction is strengthened by elaborating the GMS-EC and the ECS (Economic Cooperation Strategy). In addition, economic dependency of the neighboring countries on Thailand is generally high. In this report, firstly, Thai regional development policy will be made clear in relation to its economic policy toward neighboring countries as well as the status quo of the industrial estates. Secondly, Thai policy toward the neighboring countries is examined referring to the concept of wide-ranging economic zones, regional economic cooperation and special border economic zones. Thirdly, the paper will discuss how closely the economies between Thailand and the neighboring countries are related through trade and investment. Lastly, some implications on Japan's economic cooperation will also be explored."...Keywords: industrial estates, GMS-EC, ECS, economic corridors, border zones
Author/creator: Takao TSUNEISHI
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies, Discussion Paper No. 32
Format/size: pdf (674K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Download/Dp/032.html
Date of entry/update: 16 July 2006

Title: The Burma-Thailand Gas Debacle
Date of publication: November 2004
Description/subject: "Thailand’s state-controlled gas firm signed up for two expensive gas deals that it later realized it didn’t want. Burma has used the revenue to finance an arms build-up. In 1989 with the treasury bare, Burma’s ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, as the junta then called itself, opened up petroleum exploration to foreign oil companies. In the short term Rangoon profited from signing bonuses paid for exploration blocks. If any of the firms struck commercially viable oil or gas, Burma would collect free rents from petroleum exports that would help maintain an unelected, unpopular administration in power..."
Author/creator: Bruce Hawke
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 12, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2005