Myanmar Monitor Weekly

Politics

Myanmar Says UN Chief to Attend Ethnic Peace Talks
Myanmar officials say that the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend a peace conference in Naypyidaw on 31 August, which seeks to end decades of armed conflict with ethnic minority groups. The UN is expected to soon confirm Ban’s attendance at the conference. It would be Ban’s first visit to Myanmar since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party took power in March this year. His last visit was in November 2014.
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Myanmar to hold by-election in early 2017
Myanmar plans to hold a by-election in early 2017, according to Aung Myint, a member of the Union Election Commission (UEC). Myanmar’s Lower House of parliament currently has seven vacant seats, and the Upper House has three. Currently, Shan State’s Monghsu and Kyethi townships have no parliamentary representatives as they were excluded from the 2015 general election for security reasons. It is however unclear if these townships will be included in the by elections.
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Economy

Myanmar records US$1.5 billion trade deficit in first four months
Myanmar has racked up a US$1.5 billion trade deficit in the first four months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The total trade volume has fallen by almost US$700 million, with exports falling by US$91.78 million compared with last year, to US$3.599 billion while imports fell by US$594.45 million to US$5.117 billion. “Both imports and exports are down because there have been problems in almost every sector since last year,” said U Maung Aung, a Ministry of Commerce adviser to the former government.
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Myanmar Coffee Will Hit Whole Foods As an Economic Opening Continues
Two shipments of coffee beans from Myanmar arrived in the United States this month, the first commercial-scale imports in over 15 years and the fruits of a U.S. government development program for farmers in Myanmar. The shipment is 36,000 kg of coffee beans in total, up from 1,020 kg shipment last year, which was the first coffee import from Myanmar to the US since 2000.
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Has Myanmar tin production peaked?
According to ITRI, the tin research body, production out of Myanmar may be in a peak-production phase and could start to decline soon. Estimated tin production by Myanmar has seen a more than 10-fold increase in 2011-2015, almost entirely due to the rapid growth in a major new mining centre in Wa county. According to ITRI China, it appears that Myanmar tin production is peaking at 50,000 tonnes per annum, although there is still significant potential for the discovery of new ore resources.
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Foreign Affairs

China more important to Myanmar than India: Chinese media
China is emerging as a more significant neighbour for Myanmar than India, a Chinese think tank has said following Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent Beijing visit, her first overseas trip outside ASEAN. “India’s engaging of the erstwhile military rulers could be one of the reasons Suu Kyi was miffed with New Delhi. “…Suu Kyi was never a fan of New Delhi’s dual-track policy — supporting democratic forces and meanwhile having close ties with the military junta,” said Liu Zongyi from the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.
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