Myanmar cancels contracts to develop Dawei SEZ with ITD

The Italian Thai Development Public Company (ITD) has informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand that contracts signed between the company and Myanmar involving work on the first phase of Dawei Special Economic Zone have been cancelled. Myanmar was reported to have cancelled seven out of eight contracts made in 2015 for development of the SEZ after ITD failed to deliver its part of the agreement. When contacted, the Dawei SEZ Management Committee from Myanmar said the cancellations have yet to be officially announced. They have yet to approve the cancellations and have no comment at the moment.

The ITD is seeking legal counsel on how to proceed given the circumstances. Last month, the Japanese government said that it would commence a survey to determine the total amount of capital expenditure required to participate in the development of the Dawei deep sea port project. Myanmar is now counting on financial and technical support from Japan to kickstart construction of the long-delayed SEZ after Japan in November made an official offer to Myanmar and Thailand to invest in Dawei.

The DAwei SEZ is expected to be the largest SEZ in South East Asia- about eight times larger than Thilawa SEZ in Yangon- and over ten times larger than Kyauk Phyu SEZ in Rakhine when complete. Located 20 kilometers north of Dawei, the captial of Tanintharyin Region in Myanmar’s southeast coast bordering Thailand, the Dawei SEZ comprises 20,000 hectares of land and includes industrial as well as port facilities. Loans have been acquired from the Thai to construct a highway between Dawei and the Thai Border, which will be complete in 2023. Work to connect the SEZ to the national grid is expected to be completed in 2023 as well.

Source: Myanmar Times


Myanmar to launch digital land database

Myanmar will launch an online land database soon said Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations. The online land database will be introduced to provide transparency regarding land ownership said by the Minister during a webinar on a ‘New Way of Working with Government’ organised by Myanmar’s British Chamber of Commerce.

Online investment tools and payment processes are also being implemented to simplify and improve security in the investment process. It is also mentioned that Myanmar is seeing a growth in the usage of digital payment systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are using online services more than previous years. Some are adapting to online businesses while others conduct meetings online.

The country is also seeing growth in the infrastructure sector citing the Korea-Myanmar Industrial Zone Project and AMATA Smart and Eco City project with Thailand as examples. The Minister also spoke on e-government, digital payment systems and investment opportunities in the financial sector and renewable energy sector.

Source: Myanmar Times


Sino-Myanmar trade boosted as Manwain border post opened 24 hours

The flow of trade between China and Myanmar has improved significantly after opening Manwain border checkpoint for 24 hours, which is essential to the border trade, according to Muse-Namhkam Merchant Association.
Border authorities from both sides have agreed on opening the Muse-Manwain trading post for 24 hours on a 10-day trial basis starting from 5 to 14 January to speed up the trade flow between the two countries delayed during the pandemic period. Before opening the Manwain crossing for 24 hours, more than 200 trucks with cargo entered China daily. After opening, over 400 trucks are crossing between China and Myanmar at Manwain checkpoint daily.

Now, the flow of trade is faster than earlier. The trucks that have been waiting for many days to enter China at Muse 105th Mile are also entering China these days said by the Muse-Namhkam Merchant Association Chairperson. Myanmar primarily exports watermelon, muskmelon, rice, broken rice, green gram, sugar and other agricultural products, and it imports electrical equipment, machinery, motorcycles, motorcycle accessories, fertilizers and construction materials. According to a trader, it would be better if we could open the crossing for 24 hours because it would be beneficial to the entrepreneurs and the people.

The rental charges of the trucks will also drop. Also, the flow of trade will be faster. But, we need to assign the departmental staff mainly, and they will be busy during these days. On the Myanmar side, the truck rental charges drop by 40 per cent. However, both counties will have to take responsibility for the truck drivers’ safety and ensure that they comply with COVID-19 guidelines during the trial period. In the trial period, the Manwain border crossing will be open for 24 hours until 14 January. Further coordination will be conducted between the two countries. The authorities will extend the opening hours or allow entry or exit for 12 hours of MST.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar