Business / Trade


Burma’s Economic Revival Leaves China Struggling to Compete – William BootChina’s investment in Burma “plummeted” in 2013 to only US$20 million or 5 percent of the value invested in 2012, Chinese media reported.
And last year’s figure was a mere 1 percent of the value of Chinese investment in Burma in the peak year of 2010, said China Radio International. (more…)

Along western Burma’s coastline thousands of people make their living from fishing.
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Although financiers in Burma have been trying since 2012 to form the country’s first credit bureau, concerns about how much foreign involvement in the process should be allowed have delayed their efforts, bankers said this week.
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Families forced off their land by the Thilawa Special Economic Zone project in Rangoon Division are again urging the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to address their grievances, the fifth time in about six months that the relocated villagers have attempted to engage the Japanese governmental agency.
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Trade across Burma’s land borders grew by more than a fifth last year, with goods being traded to and from China making up the majority of the trade, an official said.
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Summary: China’s total investment in Myanmar in 2013 was about $20 million, 5% of the volume in 2012 and less than 1% from the peak year of 2010.The rules of the game in Myanmar have changed. In 2011, Myanmar’s civilian government came to power. China’s plummeting investment coincides with the announcement of the 2012 foreign investment law.
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Despite losing out in competitive bidding, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, may still get a stake in a deep-sea block in Myanmar.
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Protesting Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand, returned to work on Friday at the Yuan Jiao Garment factory after successful negotiations produced a resolution to the labor dispute there on Thursday.
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The volume of trade through the busiest crossing on Burma’s border with Thailand is rising, according to the Karen State chief Minister, who predicted an increasing flow of goods as cross-border links improve.
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Japan’s development aid is driving Myanmar families into deeper poverty.
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Communities in northern Shan State have grown worried over two large hydropower dams planned on the Salween River and its tributary, after government officials and representatives of a Burmese and Chinese company informed them about the projects last month, Shan NGOs said Tuesday.
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While observers are positive about the economic outlook as Burma enters a new fiscal year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both predict rising inflation, pushing the cost of living up for the country’s mostly poor population.
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On March 8, a quiet revolution happened. The Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor became the first private company in Myanmar’s history to establish an international Internet link from the country.
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A ban on all raw timber exports from Burma came into effect on Tuesday, in an attempt to rein in one of the country’s highly lucrative and notoriously corrupt extractives. The new regulation, which criminalises cross-border trade of unrefined wood products, is meant to stop the flow of raw resources and encourage development of value-added processing industries, though many are sceptical of the government’s ability to accomplish that outcome.
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Four activists here who oppose a government electricity rate hike are facing criminal charges after staging an unauthorized protest last week, while other protestors saw their demonstration cut short by police on Monday night.
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With Burma’s eighth domestic airline taking to the skies last month and another three set to follow suit, the country’s civil aviation sector is overcrowded, and on the whole, unprofitable. However some suggest that increased competition will precipitate a shake-up of the sector, which still has much to be desired in terms of its safety record and infrastructure.
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Advocacy group pushes for solution to migrant workers’ plight
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One of them has helped reforest environmentally threatened regions and donated money to assist children with Down syndrome. A portion of every ticket his airline sells goes to social welfare organizations. And when Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar in 2008, his foundation contributed more than $8 million to rebuild schools, hospitals, and monasteries.
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Companies will soon find out how much oil and gas there really is offshore
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Long-awaited news on which foreign energy companies have been given rights to explore offshore Myanmar reads like a who’s who of the oil and gas industry, but with a very noticeable exception.
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