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Economy, Investment and Trade
New Planning and Finance Minister stresses the need for coordination among ministries to develop Myanmar’s economy
(6 June 2018) U Soe Win was sworn in as the new Planning and Finance Minister of Myanmar at the country’s parliament on 6 June 2018. After the ceremony, he emphasized the need for better cooperation among ministries to ensure that the country’s economic state moves forward. Only through close coordination with other government officials, he said the ministry can concentrate on economic development. Soe Win said the country’s economy is facing many challenges and those challenges will be managed through discussion and negotiation. Prior to his appointment, he was the Managing Partner of Deloitte and Touche in Myanmar, which provides auditing and consulting services.
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Port development project in Mandalay scheduled to start end of 2018
(4 June 2018) According to the Myanmar Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems, the construction of Mandalay port development project will expand waterway trading in the region. The construction is expected to commence end of 2018. The US$38 million project is being managed in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project intends to transport passengers and goods along the Ayeyarwady River, which crosses the country and will be constructed on 20 acres of land. Mandalay is a strategic location for transport and communication and it is near to China, Myanmar’s key trading partner. Even though trade is conducted with other provinces through water routes from Mandalay, because of poor port facilities, loading and unloading of cargo along the river are done manually. The new port will have facilities such as container storage, cargo storage warehouse, pier bridges, approach bridges and machinery to load cargo on ships.
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Bangladesh intends to purchase more rice from Myanmar in July 2018
(31 May 2018) Associate Secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) Lu Maw Myint Maung said that Bangladesh intends to purchase 100,000 to 200,000 tons of rice from Myanmar under a Government to Government (G2G) agreement in July 2018. Since a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to export 300,000 tons of rice from Myanmar to Bangladesh was signed, over 100,000 tons of rice were exported till December 2017. According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce, up to May 11 in the 2018-2019 financial year, Myanmar received over US$96 million from 270,000 tons or rice and broken rice export. Myanmar exported about 110,000 tons of rice and broken rice through maritime trade while over 160,000 tons of rice and broken rice were exported via border trade after over one month of the 2018-2019 financial year. The country has exported about 3.6 million tons of rice in the 2017-2018 financial year because of new markets.
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Yangon government proposes a plan to build new industrial zones
(5 June 2018) Yangon Region government is pursuing the approval of eleven new industrial zones on the city’s outlying areas and a new multipurpose port terminal near the Yangon River with the aim to encourage regional development, create job opportunities and attract foreign investment. The proposed zones include Kun Chan Kone, Kawhmu, Twantay, Thanlyin, Kyauktan, Khayan, Thonegya, Taikgyi, Hmawbi, Hlegu and HtanTabin townships to be constructed on land ranging from 750 to 1,871 acres. Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe said after the receiving the approval from parliament, the projects will be presented to the Union Ministry for further approval. There was no clarification whether the proposed zones are part of the New Yangon City projects, as some of the townships suggested for the industrial zones are in the project area. Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said the new industrial zones were mooted to address disparities in development across the region.
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Myanmar to grant visa-free entries for Japan and South Korea tourists
(5 June 2018) The Myanmar government will give a visa-free entry for Japanese and South Korean citizens, while Chinese citizens will be given visas on arrival. Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is focusing their marketing strategy on visitors from Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN countries instead of western nations due to the Rohingya issue, which has affected tourist arrival. According to the ministry, the number of Chinese tourists has increased by 31 percent while tourists from other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Japan saw an increase of 20 percent, 21 percent, and two percent respectively in the first four months of 2018 from the same period last year. The ministry further added that more than 1.2 million tourists visited Myanmar in April, among which 90,000 were Chinese.
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