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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    12 November 2012 

Myanmar plans to boost border trade with Bangladesh


Myanmar plans to set up a wholesale market and hold trade fairs along the Bangladeshi border to increase bilateral trade, said Pwint San, Myanmar's deputy commerce minister, yesterday.

"Unfortunately there are some communal problems in our area, which is delaying the enhancement of border trade. When the conditions improve our border trade will also increase. It is assured," he said.

Following the rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman in the Rakhine state -- which grazes Bangladesh -- in May this year, the communal situation has been tense.

Myanmar currently holds wholesale markets and trade fairs in its bordering regions to China and Thailand, which San credits for Myanmar's increasing trade with the two nations.

San hopes the planned wholesale markets and trade fairs would have a similar effect with its border trade with Bangladesh.

San is currently leading an 11-member business delegation from Myanmar to Bangladesh for the sixth two-day Joint Trade Commission (JTC) meeting between the two countries at the capital's Hotel Purbani. Yesterday was the first day of the meeting.

Bangladesh is being represented by Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed at the meeting.

Ahmed said both the parties will discuss issues pertaining to gas and power, agriculture and fisheries, and direct air flights between Dhaka and Yangon during the meeting.

Following decades of military rule Myanmar has opened its economy, making it easier for Bangladeshi businessmen to engage in trade with Myanmar.

Letters of credit with Myanmar can now be opened directly, when previously it had to be done through a third-party country, especially Singapore.

Last year, both the governments increased the consignment value through border to US$50,000 from the previous $30,000.

"At present, there is no restriction of product coverage for border trade with Myanmar. Still, only 25 commodities are traded, and it is down to lack of promotional activities," Ahmed said.

KB Ahmed, president of Bangladesh-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, suggested improvement of the infrastructures of Teknaf Land Port.

He also said both the governments should build warehouses along the bordering areas of the respective countries.

At present, the balance of trade between the two countries is heavily in favour of Myanmar as Bangladesh imports many food items from the neighbouring country.

During the July-April period of fiscal 2011-2012, Bangladesh exported goods worth $11.05 million to Myanmar and imported goods worth $45.10 million, as per data from the commerce ministry.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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