Myanmar Monitor


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Photo Credit: EPA

Economy, Investment and Trade

Economic cooperation zone to be set up at China-Myanmar border
(24 May 2017) Myanmar and China signed a memorandum of understanding between the ministries of commerce of both countries to establish the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone. This was done during Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. A joint committee, to be headed by the ministers of commerce for both countries, will be formed to discuss the details of the zone. Myanmar Minister for Commerce U Than Myint said that once this area is set up commodities and investments can freely cross the border between the two countries.
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Thai bank keen to support SMEs in Myanmar
(22 May 2017) Kasikorn Bank (KBank) is looking to obtain permission to open a branch in Myanmar to assist bilateral trade but also to provide support for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. KBank President said that the bank is keen to share technologies and expertise for the development of Myanmar’s SMEs. In an effort to show their commitment the bank has been actively running seminars and capacity-building workshops for SMEs in Myanmar. Earlier this month, officials from the Central Bank of Myanmar said that it may allow more foreign bank branches but the exact details, such as timeline and plans, have not been released so far.
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Two countries, one visa plan by Cambodia and Myanmar
(22 May 2017) The Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Deputy Director General Daw Khin Than Win said that they are implementing a two country one destination campaign with Cambodia by planning direct flights between the two ancient cities of Bagan and Siem Reap. This means that a tourist can get to Myanmar without a visa at the embassy if they have a Cambodian visa. According to Daw Khin Than Win Myanmar is yet to start the practice of free visas for tourists as it has to submit the plan to cabinet for a bilateral agreement and approval. However, U Htay Hlaing, Director General of Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population said that the visa exemption issue for two countries one destination is still under discussion between the two ministries and that it would be impossible to allow.
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Foreign and Internal Affairs

Aung San Suu Kyi kicks off another round of peace talks
(24 May 2017) Aung San Suu Kyi is hosting peace talks in capital city of Naypyidaw in her second attempt to end fighting in the country’s troubled frontier regions. So far, only eight ethnic groups have signed the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) which was negotiated by the previous administration. This round of talks will see those signatories as official participants while those who have not signed will only be special guests. Seven groups have refused to sign the ceasefire agreement but have representatives attending the conference including United Wa State Army, Myanmar’s largest non-state armed group, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Many armed groups have complained that Suu Kyi has not listened to their concerns and is working too closely with the military.
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Myanmar army rejects findings on abuses on Rohingyas
(24 May 2017) Myanmar’s army rejected allegations, made by the United Nations, of human rights abuses during its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last year. The offensive forced some 75,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Through a state-run media outlet the military said that out of 18 accusations included in the UN report, 12 were found to be incorrect, with the remaining six found to be false and fabricated, based on lies and invented statements. These were the findings of an internal military inquiry. A national panel set up by Suu Kyi in December and chaired by vice president Myint Swe, a former head of military intelligence, is also looking into the allegations.
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