Myanmar Monitor Weekly


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Photo: Bangkok Post

Economy

Thai Delegation Visits Myanmar
On 2-3 February 2017, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister will lead a Thai delegation to Myanmar that seeks to expand bilateral trade and discuss possible partnership on investment and capital market development. As the ASEAN Economic Community enters its second year, Thailand looks forward to capitalise on the pact to boost trade and investment in the bloc as much as possible. The Commerce Ministry forecasts Thailand’s border trade to grow at least 3% in 2017, driven by the growing economies of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and the popularity of Thai products in those markets.
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Myanmar Government Committed to Ending Illegal Trade
Myanmar’s Finance Minister said that the government is committed to take action on black market trade to protect the viability of private sector businesses in the country. The actions that will be taken include introducing new policies to reduce corruption and bribery in cross-border trade. He added that the failure to take sharp action against black market trading would hinder the transformation of Myanmar, as illegal trade activities will result in a significant lost in tax revenues.
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National Development

Myanmar Launches Bus Network Impacting Millions
Myanmar launched a new public transport system in its largest city, Yangon on 16 January, for the first time introducing regular bus lines, timetables and salaries for drivers in a move that could transform the lives of about five million Yangon residents. The changes are aimed to tackle the long list of failure of the previous system that lacked professional management, was driven by corruption and has become notorious for poor service as well as recklessness of the drivers. The reform is a major test of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s ability to meet the high expectations of the public.
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Foreign Affairs

China Denies Refusing Kachin Refugees Entry
The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar rejected media reports that China had blocked the entry of refugees that had fled Kachin State’s border conflict. A non-governmental organization said that about 4,000 Myanmar civilians had been stopped from seeking shelter in neighbouring China after they attempted to flee local fighting. However, the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar refuted by saying that China has instead been providing food and medicine to those Myanmar residents out of humanitarian concerns.
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United Nations ‘Satisfied’ with Rakhine State Tour
UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar, Ms. Lee said that her tour of northern Rakhine State to assess the human rights situation in the conflict-torn area was “very useful” despite a number of roadblocks. She added that there were a couple of places that she was not granted access to, despite requesting to freely visit the state. Ms. Lee had wanted to meet with representatives from the Arakan National Party (ANP) during her trip, but ANP reportedly refused to, according to local media, as they did not agree with the previous human rights report from Ms. Lee.
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