China-ASEAN Monitor: Myanmar wholesalers on China border face new restrictions

Photo Credit: Shan News




Myanmar wholesalers on China border face new restrictions
(1 September 2020) The Chinese government has imposed new restrictions on Myanmar wholesale distributors on the China border, in a move that Myanmar nationals say makes it difficult for them to continue their work. The new law was introduced on 25 August in Jiegao, a free-trade zone just under four miles south of Ruili in Yunnan Province, allowing only Chinese nationals to run wholesale stores there. Jiegao is located across the border from Muse in Shan state. While Chinese nationals can have a Burmese counterpart in their wholesale operations, the registration fee for the Burmese national is more than US$73,000 (nearly 100 million kyat). Wholesalers from Myanmar are urging the respective authorities to build a venue for them to sell their goods in Muse, on the Shan side of the border.
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China’s top foreign policy official to visit Myanmar
(31 August 2020) China’s top diplomat is planning to visit Myanmar this week, according to the Chinese Embassy in Yangon. Yang Jiechi of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs is expected to visit Myanmar, Spain and Greece from 1-4 September. Yang previously accompanied President Xi Jinping on his trip to Naypyitaw in January 2020. According to a political analyst quoted by a local news outlet, Yang is the third most important person in the Foreign Affairs Commission after Xi and Li Keqiang, premier of the State Council of China. His visit would aim to enhance cooperation on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), which is a part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
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The Philippines to join China’s international services trade fair online in September 2020
(28 August 2020) The Philippines will participate via online in the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) scheduled to be held in early September in Beijing, the Philippine’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement on 28 August. According to DTI, the Philippine exhibitors will include 18 companies, five private sector associations, and three government agencies from the following sectors: construction and engineering outsourcing; IT-enabled services such as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO); Customer Relationship Management; animation and game development; e-learning and training; film production and visual effects; and higher education services.
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Indonesian president expresses hope for stronger, mutually beneficial ties with China
(1 September 2020) Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed his hope for a stronger relationship with China during a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on 31 August. Jokowi made the phone call after Xi sent a letter to mark the two countries 70 years of bilateral relations. During the call, Jokowi also expressed his appreciation to the Chinese government for recently welcoming high-level Indonesian government officials to discuss several cooperation deals in healthcare and the economy. Jokowi further asserted that economic cooperation should not stop despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, as seen in the arrangement of a travel corridor between the two countries on 21 August in order to facilitate essential and urgent business trips.
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ASEAN and China enhance trade links
(27 August 2020) Delegates at the 19th consultations within the framework of the 52nd Meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM-52) shared the view that China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner since 2009, with preliminary data showing total merchandise trade amounting to US$507.9 billion in 2019, or 18% of the bloc’s total trade. FDI inflows to ASEAN reached US$9.1 trillion in 2019, accounting for 5.7% of ASEAN’s total FDI. At the virtual meeting held on 27 August, ASEAN economic ministers met with representatives from China’s Ministry of Commerce. The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-China comprehensive economic ties, with the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area put into operation comprehensively. Delegates reached consensus on the next steps to deal with shortcomings in the cooperative programme in the time ahead. The ministers also said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement remained a top priority of ASEAN.
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