Thursday, August 27, 2009

China to promote trade with Thailand and Burma

by Usa Pichai

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - With China keen on opening one more border trade checkpoint with Burma, a boost in trade is likely by corporates in Northern Thailand and southern China.

Thailand’s Department of Exporting Promotion organized an event on Wednesday to promote trading and investing in Xishuangbanna Prefecture in Yunnan Province, southern China close to Shan State in Burma.

Apmornphan Nimanan, Chiang Mai province Governor presided over the event and said that Thailand and Xishuangbanna have close cultural ties. Besides, transportation is smooth along Mekong River and over land by R3A route between Thailand – Lao – China or R3B between Thailand – Burma – China, according to a report in the government run Thailand’s News Bureau website.

Earlier, regarding discussions with officials in Chiang Rai Province, Qian Min, the Director of Trade Office’s Xixuangbanna said R3B is the shorter route but there are many checkpoints in Burma that result in excessive transport costs.

“Our officials will discuss this issue with the Burmese authority in Keng Tung and open the Mongla-Daluo border checkpoint soon,” he said. Kieng Tung is located in Shan State, Burma.

The Burmese side of the Mongla-Daluo checkpoint is under the control of the ceasefire group the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), led by Sai Linn aka Lin Mingxian, which is also known as Shan State Special Region 4.

Dao Linyin, Governor of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture said in Chiang Mai that the R3A is used officially, which would benefit trading between China and Southeast Asian nations.

“China would speed up cooperation with Thailand in commercial, investment and tourism and infrastructure development. We will also provide more support for investors with special privileges. If there are problems that the local government can solve, we will do so immediately,” she said.

Early this year, Chinese authorities placed restrictions on this border checkpoint to curb drug smuggling, where trading and other business including casinos were affected.

Burma’s cross-border trade was banned by the late dictator Gen. Ne Win after the military assumed power in 1962 but the ban was lifted following negotiations in 1988.

Bilateral trade has risen steadily since, increasing by 60 per cent in the fiscal year ending 31 March, 2008, and constitutes 24 per cent of Burma's trade, making China a major trading partner, second only to Thailand.

Trading between China and Thailand has also risen steadily. In 2008 it was more than 36,000 million US$ which rose by about 20 per cent compared to 2007 but the global economic meltdown resulted in a significant drop early this year.

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