Friday, May 16, 2008

Thais invited to help build deep-sea port at Tavoy Burma

Bangkokpost 6/05/2008
Burma has invited Thai investors to help develop a deep-sea port in Tavoy to open trade and investment links with western Thailand.
The invitation was made by Burmese Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein during his talks with Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, said Transport Minister Santi Prompat.
During his recent official visit to Thailand, the Burmese prime minister said Burma would set aside about 100,000 rai of land near the planned Tavoy deep-sea port to be developed as an industrial zone to accommodate energy-related industries such as petrochemicals and refineries.

Mr Santi said construction of the deep-sea port in Tavoy would cost about 40-50 billion baht, while at least another 100 billion baht would be needed for developing the industrial zone.

PTT Plc, Thailand's oil giant, has shown an interest in setting up an oil refinery in Burma, where natural gas reserves were abundant, said Mr Santi.

If the refinery was built there, PTT could supply refined oil products to Thailand through pipelines.

India and other countries were also interested in investing in the Tavoy deep-sea port project.

Mr Santi said the area earmarked for the deep-sea port was close to many provinces in Thailand including Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi and Suphan Buri.

The government was ready to support both Thai and foreign investors in setting up industries in those provinces, Mr Santi said.

He admitted that investments in Thailand were slow due to red-tape and other obstacles, including protests by activists, which also drove away foreign investors.

Commenting on progress on the planned Pak Bara deep sea-port project in Satun province, Mr Santi said Dubai has unconditionally offered 10 million baht to the ministry's Office of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning to conduct a feasibility study of the project on the Andaman Sea.

Dubai has expressed interest in the project, said Mr Santi, adding that investors from Dubai and other countries would be invited to join the bidding.

Meanwhile, a group of activists said they would check whether the Phu Nam Ron forest in Kanchanaburi province would be affected if a road linking Thailand with the Tavoy deep-sea port project was built through the forest.

Kanchanaburi conservation group president Pinan Chotiroseranee said in principle her group had no objection to the Tavoy deep-sea port project as it was built in Burma.

However, the activists would check whether the planned expansion of the Yetakun-Tavoy road near the border in Kanchanaburi would cut through the forest.

She denied that protests by activists had affected industrial growth, saying the activists would not oppose development projects if they were necessary and beneficial to the country.
Tourism Thailand


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