Myanmar and Thailand seek to double trade

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During a recent meeting between Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence General Prawit Wonsuwan with Myanmar’s Nay Pri Taw, a trade target of $20 billion was set for 2017, according to U Zaw Htay, a spokesperson for the President’s Office.

“We discussed with the Thai deputy prime minister to raise the trade amount between Myanmar and Thailand to reach $20 billion in 2017. Both sides agreed”, he said in a press conference this week.

Today, trade between the two South East Asian nations is around $10 billion.

Ministry of Commerce statistics show border trade between the two has risen steadily, totalling $800 million in the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year, an increase of one third on the 2013 – 2014 figure of $600 million.

President U Htin Kyaw talked with General Prawit in the diplomatic hall of the Presidential Palace in a thirty minute meeting.

The Thai deputy prime minister also met State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and discussed the stalled Dawei Special Economic Zone, being backed by  Thailand. The SEZ was originally designed to be one-quarter the size of Singapore, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating up to 5 percent of Myanmar’s GDP, but was hit with setbacks and local dissent.

Thailand’s deputy prime minister also discussed restarting contentious demarcations of the shared border.

U Zaw Htay said that during Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to Thailand last week, she and the Thai prime minister agreed to form a joint committee with members from both countries to sort out remaining border disputes.

“Both sides had suspended marking the border area for various reasons”, U Zaw Htay said. “To form the committee, a meeting will be held in Myanmar. Then, both sides will try to resolve the dispute”.

SOURCE: Myanmar Times.

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