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Myanmar Forests Could Earn Nation $1b

Myanmar could earn an estimated $1 billion if the country reduces deforestation under a carbon trading initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2008.

Myanmar could earn an estimated $1 billion if the country reduces deforestation under a carbon trading initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2008. Under the plan, industrialized nations would pay rainforest nations such as Myanmar to protect their forests to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions. Money from industrialized countries would flow into a forest conservation fund that Myanmar could draw upon depending on its success in reducing its deforestation rate. Through this plan, Myanmar could increase its income by over 25 percent.

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Wages and Jobs Shrinking in Myanmar

At least 3000 jobs have been eliminated in Myanmar last week, as the country starts to feel the effects of the global financial crisis.

At least 3000 jobs have been eliminated in Myanmar last week, as the country starts to feel the effects of the global financial crisis. Many of Rangoon's factories have begun to lay off a large number workers as demand for exports has decreased significantly. In Rangoon alone there are 2500 factories and 120,000 worker. Previously workers in the mainly garment factories were earning wages of $30 per month. Now, however, wages are either being cut in half or eliminated all together.

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Forests Rethink Could Earn Burma $1b

Under an initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, industrialized nations would pay Myanmar and other rainforest nations to reduce their deforestation rates.

Under an initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, industrialized nations would pay Myanmar and other rainforest nations to reduce their deforestation rates. The aggressive plan is an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to allow industrialized nations meet the greenhouse gas emissions limits set under the Kyoto Protocol. If Myanmar reduces deforestation on half of its rainforests, it can make at least $800 million.

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Myanmar Seeks Better Business Ties with Brunei

Myanmar delegates visiting Brunei cited the need for possible tourism and energy alliances.

Myanmar delegates visiting Brunei cited the need for possible tourism and energy alliances. At the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), the delegates welcomed Bruneian companies to venture into Myanmar and join other countries currently investing in the energy business. Trade between Brunei and Myanmar only reached USD 800,000. A lack of natural complementaries is cited as the cause for the low figure.

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Myanmar Retrieves More Lands for Industrial Expansion

Myanmar is retrieving more lands in its biggest city of Yangon for the purpose of increasing its industrial zones.

Myanmar is retrieving more lands in its biggest city of Yangon for the purpose of increasing its industrial zones. Myanmar is planning to set out plants and workshops away from the residential areas to decrease environmental problems. Some of the factories are believed to have affected the local residents physically and psychologically.

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India, Myanmar to Sign Agreement on Port

Despite political turmoil in Myanmar, India and Myanmar are very likely to sign an agreement on a port at the Kaladan River very soon. The river will provide India's land-locked states in the

Despite political turmoil in Myanmar, India and Myanmar are very likely to sign an agreement on a port at the Kaladan River very soon. The river will provide India's land-locked states in the northeastern part of the country with access to the Bay of Bengal, allowing to overcome Bangladesh's refusal to provide transit. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the agreement is going to be signed within a few weeks, enabling the project to be started early next year.

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ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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Yangon Airways Releases E-Tickets

Myanmar's Yangon Airways has begun offering e-tickets as an option for its customers. To make a flight reservation, travelers can visit http://www.yangonair.com/ and make a payment with a bank transfer. In addition to improving service with e-tickets, Yangon Airways announced that it plans to buy another aircraft for outbound charter flights.

Myanmar's Yangon Airways has begun offering e-tickets as an option for its customers. To make a flight reservation, travelers can visit http://www.yangonair.com/ and make a payment with a bank transfer. In addition to improving service with e-tickets, Yangon Airways announced that it plans to buy another aircraft for outbound charter flights.

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Myanmar to Establish Special Economic Zones

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh Officials to Meet, Third Time in Three Months

The business relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh seems to be stabilizing as Myanmar's Senior General Maung Aye plans to pay a visit to Bangladesh on September 10. Aye will be visiting Chief Advsior Fakhruddin Ahmed to discuss enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. A diplomatic source said: "The visit will hopefully pave the way for building a solid relationship between the two next-door neighbours."

The business relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh seems to be stabilizing as Myanmar's Senior General Maung Aye plans to pay a visit to Bangladesh on September 10. Aye will be visiting Chief Advsior Fakhruddin Ahmed to discuss enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. A diplomatic source said: "The visit will hopefully pave the way for building a solid relationship between the two next-door neighbours."

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Myanmar Roofing Goes Green

Myanmar's roofs are getting an environmentally friendly makeover. Yangon's System Engineering Co., Ltd has received its first shipment of Onduline, an alternative to corrugated iron, which is commonly used as a roofing material. Unlike iron, Onduline is lightweight, soundproof, and rust-resistant. Onduline is made from waste paper that has been saturated with bitumen, a byproduct of crude oil.

Myanmar's roofs are getting an environmentally friendly makeover. Yangon's System Engineering Co., Ltd has received its first shipment of Onduline, an alternative to corrugated iron, which is commonly used as a roofing material. Unlike iron, Onduline is lightweight, soundproof, and rust-resistant. Onduline is made from waste paper that has been saturated with bitumen, a byproduct of crude oil.

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Myanmar: Private-Sector Competition Will Work, According to Myanma Five Star Line

Myanma Five Star Line (MFSL) considers the market large enough to handle the introduction of local private-sector competition without affecting Myanmar firms. The managing director of MFSL, U Maung Maung Nyein, said MFSL plans to provide several services including managerial advice, but added that the company would not provide financial assistance because the least expensive ships cost USD 5 million each.

Myanma Five Star Line (MFSL) considers the market large enough to handle the introduction of local private-sector competition without affecting Myanmar firms. The managing director of MFSL, U Maung Maung Nyein, said MFSL plans to provide several services including managerial advice, but added that the company would not provide financial assistance because the least expensive ships cost USD 5 million each.

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Myanmar and South Korea Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), workers from Myanmar will be able to work in South Korea under the new government program Employment Permit System (EPS). Choi Kwang-jin, first secretary at the Korean Embassy, said last week: "So far, the Korean Ministry of Labor has signed MoUs with nine countries to recruit laborers - the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Cambodia and Pakistan."

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), workers from Myanmar will be able to work in South Korea under the new government program Employment Permit System (EPS). Choi Kwang-jin, first secretary at the Korean Embassy, said last week: "So far, the Korean Ministry of Labor has signed MoUs with nine countries to recruit laborers - the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Cambodia and Pakistan."

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Myanmar Shipping Company Goes Online, Gets Great Response

Myanmar Five Star Line (MFSL), a Myanmar shipping firm, has announced its decision to extend its web-based services after receiving an "outstanding" response to the online system. The website, http://www.mfsl-shipping.com/, can be used to book shipments and view schedules and routes. According to MFSL officials, the website is now used by 87 percent of the company's clientele.

Myanmar Five Star Line (MFSL), a Myanmar shipping firm, has announced its decision to extend its web-based services after receiving an "outstanding" response to the online system. The website, http://www.mfsl-shipping.com/, can be used to book shipments and view schedules and routes. According to MFSL officials, the website is now used by 87 percent of the company's clientele.

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Yangon, Myanmar: More Office Space Becomes Available as Demand Increases

Due to rising demand for more upscale office space, the Sakura Tower in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, will open seven new floors for office space. According to Takuya Tsuji, the managing director of EXE Sakura Co., Ltd, the Sakura Tower will open floors 13 to 19 for businesses needing to open offices. The floors had been left vacant since the tower opened in 1998. Tsuji said EXE Sakura will charge slightly more for the high-rise offices than for offices on the lower floors.

Due to rising demand for more upscale office space, the Sakura Tower in downtown Yangon, Myanmar, will open seven new floors for office space. According to Takuya Tsuji, the managing director of EXE Sakura Co., Ltd, the Sakura Tower will open floors 13 to 19 for businesses needing to open offices. The floors had been left vacant since the tower opened in 1998. Tsuji said EXE Sakura will charge slightly more for the high-rise offices than for offices on the lower floors.

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Domestic Cars in Myanmar Become Increasingly Popular

The number of domestic vehicles in Myanmar is increasing because of lower prices, according to the Super Mandalar car factory in the Mandalay Industrial Zone. U Thein Zaw, a spokesperson for Super Mandalar, said officials from the Ministry of Industry gave permission for factories to begin producing domestic cars in February 2000. Zaw said about 3000 vehicles are now made in the Industrial Zone each year.

The number of domestic vehicles in Myanmar is increasing because of lower prices, according to the Super Mandalar car factory in the Mandalay Industrial Zone. U Thein Zaw, a spokesperson for Super Mandalar, said officials from the Ministry of Industry gave permission for factories to begin producing domestic cars in February 2000. Zaw said about 3000 vehicles are now made in the Industrial Zone each year.

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Goverment Plans to Help Myanmar Fisheries Maintain Production Year-Round

Myanmar's government has announced its plan to give fisheries in the country exclusive power supplies to help them maintain production during off-seasons. The power would be supplied through substations at each factory and would supply electricity 24 hours a day. So far, according to the Myanmar Fishery Federation Vice Chairman U Han Tan, only 43 out of 80 fishery plants have agreed to participate. The other 37 have yet to respond.

Myanmar's government has announced its plan to give fisheries in the country exclusive power supplies to help them maintain production during off-seasons. The power would be supplied through substations at each factory and would supply electricity 24 hours a day. So far, according to the Myanmar Fishery Federation Vice Chairman U Han Tan, only 43 out of 80 fishery plants have agreed to participate. The other 37 have yet to respond.

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Myanmar Eel Market Floods

The price of one of Myanmar's greatest exports, eel, is dropping after an oversupply loosened demand. The chairman of the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association said too many eels were being offered at auctions. He said the current demand was for about 40 tons of eels each day, but markets were receiving 50 to 60 tons of eels per day.

The price of one of Myanmar's greatest exports, eel, is dropping after an oversupply loosened demand. The chairman of the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association said too many eels were being offered at auctions. He said the current demand was for about 40 tons of eels each day, but markets were receiving 50 to 60 tons of eels per day.

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Bangladeshi Businessman Plans to Build Myanmar-Bangladesh Gas Pipeline

Syed Mahmudul Huq, a businessman from Bangladesh, has already expressed his intention of importing gas to Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine State through a pipeline. "A consortium comprising private sector entrepreneurs is ready to import gas from Rakhine in Myanmar. I don't want to wait for donors' suggestions or their money," Huq said. Huq said the imported gas will be used for producing fertilizer.

Syed Mahmudul Huq, a businessman from Bangladesh, has already expressed his intention of importing gas to Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine State through a pipeline. "A consortium comprising private sector entrepreneurs is ready to import gas from Rakhine in Myanmar. I don't want to wait for donors' suggestions or their money," Huq said. Huq said the imported gas will be used for producing fertilizer.

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Myanmar's Ornamental Fish Market Faces Challenges

The ornamental fish market has to face a few challenges that may hold it back, according to U Tin Win, the managing director of Hein Aquarium Co., Ltd., in Yangon. U Tin Win said that freight costs are more expensive in Myanmar than in other countries, and that there are few direct flights to foreign cities going out of Myanmar. Singapore is currently Myanmar's greatest buyer of ornamental fish.

The ornamental fish market has to face a few challenges that may hold it back, according to U Tin Win, the managing director of Hein Aquarium Co., Ltd., in Yangon. U Tin Win said that freight costs are more expensive in Myanmar than in other countries, and that there are few direct flights to foreign cities going out of Myanmar. Singapore is currently Myanmar's greatest buyer of ornamental fish.

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Fisheries Sector of Myanmar Below Export Goal

The Department of Fisheries in Myanmar released figures last week that indicated the Myanmar fisheries sector is USD 71.5 million short of their expected export target of USD 750 million. The sector has earned only USD 138.57 million since the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1. Department of Fisheries Deputy Director General U Khin Ko Lay said last week: "We passed the 14-week mark and by this time we had to get USD 210 million, which is USD 15 million a week, so that we could achieve the target."

The Department of Fisheries in Myanmar released figures last week that indicated the Myanmar fisheries sector is USD 71.5 million short of their expected export target of USD 750 million. The sector has earned only USD 138.57 million since the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1. Department of Fisheries Deputy Director General U Khin Ko Lay said last week: "We passed the 14-week mark and by this time we had to get USD 210 million, which is USD 15 million a week, so that we could achieve the target."

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ASEAN Meeting on Myanmar Ineffective; Foreign Leaders Frustrated

After the meeting with the Myanmar military government this week, many ministers from ASEAN were feeling frustrated with the lack of progress being made to promote democracy in Myanmar. Foreign Minister of Australia Alexander Downer said Tuesday: "What amazes me about [Myanmar] is that the leadership seems completely insensitive to and impervious of the views of the outside world."

After the meeting with the Myanmar military government this week, many ministers from ASEAN were feeling frustrated with the lack of progress being made to promote democracy in Myanmar. Foreign Minister of Australia Alexander Downer said Tuesday: "What amazes me about [Myanmar] is that the leadership seems completely insensitive to and impervious of the views of the outside world."

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Myanmar's Jade Market Sees Success at Recent Emporium

Myanmar's Myanma Gems Enterprise sold 4300 jade lots at a sale emporium this month, a record number attributed to a high turnout of Chinese buyers. A company official said last week: "This is the biggest jade sale in terms of the number of lots sold and money made in the history of these emporiums." Despite the sale's success, the official said the company barely sold 10 percent of gem lots on offer and fewer than were sold in March.

Myanmar's Myanma Gems Enterprise sold 4300 jade lots at a sale emporium this month, a record number attributed to a high turnout of Chinese buyers. A company official said last week: "This is the biggest jade sale in terms of the number of lots sold and money made in the history of these emporiums." Despite the sale's success, the official said the company barely sold 10 percent of gem lots on offer and fewer than were sold in March.

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Southeast Asian Nations Push Myanmar Towards Democracy

In an effort to promote democracy in Myanmar, Southeast Asian nations came together Monday to demand that Myanmar release political detainees, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. "We urged Myanmar to show tangible progress that would lead to a peaceful transition to democracy in the near future," said the board in an official statement.

In an effort to promote democracy in Myanmar, Southeast Asian nations came together Monday to demand that Myanmar release political detainees, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. "We urged Myanmar to show tangible progress that would lead to a peaceful transition to democracy in the near future," said the board in an official statement.

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Foreign Investment Necessary to Stimulate Myanmar's Economy

According to realtors in Myanmar's capital Yangon, foreign investment would help to stimulate the property sector and help the country's economy. U Than Oo, managing director of the Mundine real estate agency, said last week: "Allowing foreigners to buy homes, after relaxing some rules and regulations, will give developers a bigger market." The 1987 Transfer of Immovable Property Registration Law states that foreigners may not buy or own land or real estate in Myanmar.

According to realtors in Myanmar's capital Yangon, foreign investment would help to stimulate the property sector and help the country's economy. U Than Oo, managing director of the Mundine real estate agency, said last week: "Allowing foreigners to buy homes, after relaxing some rules and regulations, will give developers a bigger market." The 1987 Transfer of Immovable Property Registration Law states that foreigners may not buy or own land or real estate in Myanmar.

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Myanmar Onions Crops 30 Percent Higher This Year

The Myanmar Onion & Garlic Producers and Exporters Association (MOPEA) has lifted a ban on onion exports. The ban, put in place September 2006, was lifted because of a 94,000 ton surplus of onions, meaning that some could be exported. MOPEA cited good weather as a reason for the output, which is about 30 percent higher than in the previous years.

The Myanmar Onion & Garlic Producers and Exporters Association (MOPEA) has lifted a ban on onion exports. The ban, put in place September 2006, was lifted because of a 94,000 ton surplus of onions, meaning that some could be exported. MOPEA cited good weather as a reason for the output, which is about 30 percent higher than in the previous years.

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Bangladesh and Myanmar to Build Hydropower Plant

After the July 10 to 13 visit of a Bangladeshi delegation to Myanmar, the two countries have agreed to build a hydropower plant and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Power Secretary Dr. M Fouzul Kabir said construction plans would be decided after a feasibility study, but he said the most promising location for the plant would be in Rakhine State. The hydropower plant would supply Bangladesh's national grid with power.

After the July 10 to 13 visit of a Bangladeshi delegation to Myanmar, the two countries have agreed to build a hydropower plant and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Power Secretary Dr. M Fouzul Kabir said construction plans would be decided after a feasibility study, but he said the most promising location for the plant would be in Rakhine State. The hydropower plant would supply Bangladesh's national grid with power.

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Myanmar: Only 10 Percent of Businesses Are in Operation

According to the prime minister of Myanmar, out of 40,000 companies registered in Myanmar, only 4,000 are actually in operation. Lieutenant General Thein Sein said last week that most of the operating companies have limited access to foreign markets and have very little capital. He added, "The state is ready to render assistance to increase the number of companies that can do business globally."

According to the prime minister of Myanmar, out of 40,000 companies registered in Myanmar, only 4,000 are actually in operation. Lieutenant General Thein Sein said last week that most of the operating companies have limited access to foreign markets and have very little capital. He added, "The state is ready to render assistance to increase the number of companies that can do business globally."

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US House of Representatives Renews Myanmar Import Ban

Imports from Myanmar's military-ruled government have again been banned by the United States House of Representatives because of human rights violations and because the government restricts democratic processes. Tom Landos, Democratic head of the House panel on foreign relations, said Monday: "As we renew our import sanctions, we aim both to pressure directly the military junta in [Myanmar] and to influence those in the international community who are currently asleep at the wheel of justice and human rights."

Imports from Myanmar's military-ruled government have again been banned by the United States House of Representatives because of human rights violations and because the government restricts democratic processes. Tom Landos, Democratic head of the House panel on foreign relations, said Monday: "As we renew our import sanctions, we aim both to pressure directly the military junta in [Myanmar] and to influence those in the international community who are currently asleep at the wheel of justice and human rights."

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Myanmar to Build a Deep-Sea Port for Trade with India and Bangladesh

Myanmar is planning to build a deep-sea port in an effort to promote maritime trade and serve as a transit unit for goods to be transported to Yangon, Myanmar; Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh. The port will be located in Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State and will be built by private-sector company AsiaWorld, which has already surveyed the site.

Myanmar is planning to build a deep-sea port in an effort to promote maritime trade and serve as a transit unit for goods to be transported to Yangon, Myanmar; Kolkata, India and Chittagong, Bangladesh. The port will be located in Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State and will be built by private-sector company AsiaWorld, which has already surveyed the site.

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Railroad Project in Myanmar Coming to a Close

A railroad project connecting major Myanmar cities Yangon and Mandalay is scheduled for completion at the end of this year, according to the Ministry of Railways Transportation. The track will be 157.75 miles long and so far 97.5 miles of track have been laid. The Ministry of Railways and Transportation hopes the new track will expedite deliveries between the two major commercial hubs.

A railroad project connecting major Myanmar cities Yangon and Mandalay is scheduled for completion at the end of this year, according to the Ministry of Railways Transportation. The track will be 157.75 miles long and so far 97.5 miles of track have been laid. The Ministry of Railways and Transportation hopes the new track will expedite deliveries between the two major commercial hubs.

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Myanmar Does Not Support Taiwan UN Membership

The military-backed government of Myanmar announced last week that they do not support United Nations membership for Taiwan. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government believes such action would increase tension between Taiwan and China and possibly put the stability of the region into jeopardy. "As a nation which has steadfastly nurtured the friendly relations with the People's Republic of China, the Union of Myanmar has consistently adhered to the principle of ‘One China Policy' and regards Taiwan as an integral part of China," the statement said.

The military-backed government of Myanmar announced last week that they do not support United Nations membership for Taiwan. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government believes such action would increase tension between Taiwan and China and possibly put the stability of the region into jeopardy. "As a nation which has steadfastly nurtured the friendly relations with the People's Republic of China, the Union of Myanmar has consistently adhered to the principle of ‘One China Policy' and regards Taiwan as an integral part of China," the statement said.

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Gas Firm in India Will Not Buy Into Myanmar's A-7 Block

GAIL, a state-run gas firm in India, announced Wednesday that it will not buy into Myanmar's A-7 block. An official from the company said the prospects in Myanmar are poor, but that it will keep its stakes in two other gas fields. "It is purely on the basis of data that we have analyzed, and the commercial availability there only," said GAIL's firm director for business development A.K. Purwaha.

GAIL, a state-run gas firm in India, announced Wednesday that it will not buy into Myanmar's A-7 block. An official from the company said the prospects in Myanmar are poor, but that it will keep its stakes in two other gas fields. "It is purely on the basis of data that we have analyzed, and the commercial availability there only," said GAIL's firm director for business development A.K. Purwaha.

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Myanmar Sand Industry Attracts Singapore

In an attempt to promote its business of sand supply, the Shwe Maik mining company has sent a Singapore firm a sample of their sand from the Ayeyar-wady Division. Sand is in high demand in Singapore, where it is used for concrete production. U Shew Maik, managing director of the mining company, said this Singapore firm, which he declined to name to prevent competition, had expressed interest in ordering 100,000 tons of sand from Myanmar.

In an attempt to promote its business of sand supply, the Shwe Maik mining company has sent a Singapore firm a sample of their sand from the Ayeyar-wady Division. Sand is in high demand in Singapore, where it is used for concrete production. U Shew Maik, managing director of the mining company, said this Singapore firm, which he declined to name to prevent competition, had expressed interest in ordering 100,000 tons of sand from Myanmar.

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Bangladesh To Build Hydropower Plants in Myanmar

Bangladesh is considering building hydropower plants in Myanmar that would export power to Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi delegation paid a visit to the Myanmar last week to explore the possibility and meet with existing hydropower plants. Bangladesh said it plans to request financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to fund the project. The delegation also plans to meet with Myanmar's top policymakers this week to discuss the issues.

Bangladesh is considering building hydropower plants in Myanmar that would export power to Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi delegation paid a visit to the Myanmar last week to explore the possibility and meet with existing hydropower plants. Bangladesh said it plans to request financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to fund the project. The delegation also plans to meet with Myanmar's top policymakers this week to discuss the issues.

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Myanmar Needs to Educate Itself on Tax Laws

The people of Myanmar should become better educated about tax laws, according to Dr. Maung Maung Soe, an economist at the Yangon Institute of Economics. Dr. Soe said many taxpayers and collectors needed a better understanding of the tax system, and how it benefits the whole country. "People cannot say that paying tax is not fair. The aim is to distribute the income from taxes equally so everyone benefits," he said. According to the Ministry of Finance, many businesses felt justified in avoiding tax payments because of the challenging business climate in Myanmar.

The people of Myanmar should become better educated about tax laws, according to Dr. Maung Maung Soe, an economist at the Yangon Institute of Economics. Dr. Soe said many taxpayers and collectors needed a better understanding of the tax system, and how it benefits the whole country. "People cannot say that paying tax is not fair. The aim is to distribute the income from taxes equally so everyone benefits," he said. According to the Ministry of Finance, many businesses felt justified in avoiding tax payments because of the challenging business climate in Myanmar.

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Myanmar Tin Production Set to Increase

After an increase in the world price of tin, Myanmar mining firm Shwe Maik announced that it plans to almost double its production of the metal. Tin is currently worth about USD 6,800 per ton, up USD 2,300 since summer 2006. Two other mining firms, Delco and A&A Natural Resources Development, have decided not to increase their output, stating that higher investment costs like equipment and fuel would offset profits.

After an increase in the world price of tin, Myanmar mining firm Shwe Maik announced that it plans to almost double its production of the metal. Tin is currently worth about USD 6,800 per ton, up USD 2,300 since summer 2006. Two other mining firms, Delco and A&A Natural Resources Development, have decided not to increase their output, stating that higher investment costs like equipment and fuel would offset profits.

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Turkish Clothing Company to Set Up Shop in Myanmar

A Turkish clothing company in Yangon, Myanmar, will be the first of its kind in the country. After sanctions from the United States and European Union passed in 2003 banning imports, many companies in Myanmar were forced to close. The Turkish company, which is a collaboration of Atac Dis Tic Ltd and Altundas Textile Co., Ltd has been set up to evaluate Myanmar's potential as a production base. "Turkey is not an EU member yet so we do not have to comply with sanctions against Myanmar," Atac Dis Tic Ltd managing director Murat Atadinc said Tuesday.

A Turkish clothing company in Yangon, Myanmar, will be the first of its kind in the country. After sanctions from the United States and European Union passed in 2003 banning imports, many companies in Myanmar were forced to close. The Turkish company, which is a collaboration of Atac Dis Tic Ltd and Altundas Textile Co., Ltd has been set up to evaluate Myanmar's potential as a production base. "Turkey is not an EU member yet so we do not have to comply with sanctions against Myanmar," Atac Dis Tic Ltd managing director Murat Atadinc said Tuesday.

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Myanmar Goat Market Holds Potential for Export Growth

According to the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, goat breeding programs have great potential for boosting Myanmar's export market. If the current goat breeding program of Myanmar doubled the goat market, exports of goat meat could bring in as much as USD 50 million a year, according to research conducted by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.

According to the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, goat breeding programs have great potential for boosting Myanmar's export market. If the current goat breeding program of Myanmar doubled the goat market, exports of goat meat could bring in as much as USD 50 million a year, according to research conducted by the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.

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Goldsmiths in Myanmar Struggle to Stay in Business

After international gold prices doubled from USD 400 to USD 800 in 2005, many goldsmiths in Myanmar have faced difficulties, and some have even been forced to go out of business. Goldsmith Ko Thar Dun Aung explained that the rising prices have forced many customers out of the market. Secretary General of the Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association U Kyaw Win said gold prices might drop if extraction processes in Myanmar can run normally this year. In the past the processes were affected by the monsoon.

After international gold prices doubled from USD 400 to USD 800 in 2005, many goldsmiths in Myanmar have faced difficulties, and some have even been forced to go out of business. Goldsmith Ko Thar Dun Aung explained that the rising prices have forced many customers out of the market. Secretary General of the Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association U Kyaw Win said gold prices might drop if extraction processes in Myanmar can run normally this year. In the past the processes were affected by the monsoon.

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Myanmar Department of Fisheries Increases Eel Prices

After complaints from eel traders in Myanmar, the Department of Fisheries has upped the price of eel from a floor price of USD 1600 a ton to about USD 2000 a ton. U Soe Tun Shein, chairman of the Myanmar Fishery Producers and Exporters Association (MFPEA) said the MFPEA hoped the new price increase would help it reach its goal of USD 35 million in eel exports.

After complaints from eel traders in Myanmar, the Department of Fisheries has upped the price of eel from a floor price of USD 1600 a ton to about USD 2000 a ton. U Soe Tun Shein, chairman of the Myanmar Fishery Producers and Exporters Association (MFPEA) said the MFPEA hoped the new price increase would help it reach its goal of USD 35 million in eel exports.

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Myanmar to Receive USD 3.8 Million From Japan

Myanmar will receive JPY 468 million (about USD 3.8 million) for aid in afforestation projects and a human resource scholarship program that grants aid to promising Myanmar students at Japanese universities.

Myanmar will receive JPY 468 million (about USD 3.8 million) for aid in afforestation projects and a human resource scholarship program that grants aid to promising Myanmar students at Japanese universities.

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Generals, Gas, Gems and Timber

Is it time for the West to reconsider its stance on Myanmar? As to whether the US-EU sanctions and embargoes levied against the Burmese have had any success is hardly clear - many countries still trade freely with the junta's repressive regime. China and Thailand refuse to impose sanctions; the Chief of the Indian Armed Forces paid a visit earlier this year to discuss military cooperation; and Russia has agreed to build a nuclear research center including a 10MW light-water reactor in Burma. Accusations of corruption, drug trafficking, human right violations, forced labor and torture have been discounted by the junta, while threats of further international isolation have been rebuffed.

Earlier this year, Myanmar accepted a bid by China to construct an oil pipeline from its offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal to mainland China, returning the favor to a highly sought after international ally in the UN Security Council. It was quick to veto in January, along with Russia, a Security Council resolution condemning Myanmar, claiming the country poses no threat to international security.

India has opted for a gradual shift in attitude towards Myanmar, feeling the need to seek Myanmar's help in countering the many insurgent groups that plague its north-east, where the border with Myanmar provides an escape route. India feels obliged to aid the Myanmarese army by providing arms, adding to the military assistance and supplies the country already receives from China and Russia.

In May, North Korea and Myanmar announced that they were restoring diplomatic ties after 24 years. This is as clear a signal as any that Myanmar has no intentions to sway to the West's tune. Myanmar is much more resource-endowed than North Korea is, and perhaps consequently less isolated. The US and the EU should recognize the repercussions that entail when enforcing economic sanctions on Myanmar; namely the junta's urge to exploit its own natural and indigenous resources in unsustainable ways to finance its expenditures, as it has done in the past. Myanmar has 60 percent of the world's teak resources, and exporting timber illegally is a big source of revenue. The government has been profiting for years from the gem trade by giving out mining concessions, and most of the gem trade is still in the black market.

The US renewed its sanctions, and the junta renewed Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest. Constructive engagement may seem like a ridiculous suggestion, but for better or for worse it will change things from the present stalemate. The EU wishes to have free trade with ASEAN, but the antics of this black sheep in the group are proving to be an impediment. Still, the junta's notoriety and brutality seem to deter fewer and fewer interested parties from pursuing lucrative economic engagements with such regimes. It is important to realize that Myanmar's potential gains and geographic proximity to China, India and other Asian nations will weigh in much more in these countries' consideration of how best to deal with the defiant government. For India, it is the gateway to the ASEAN bloc and a viable source of energy; for Thailand, it is a neighbor whose goods, people and problems spill in easily through its own borders; and for China, it has been a fairly obliging ally.

The West needs perspective on its policy towards Myanmar, and this is certainly not to suggest that the activities of the regime should be condoned. It is clear that the junta continues to reign in impunity - there's an occasional admonishment by ASEAN, the odd threat to pull out of the ILO if faced with criticism, and the closure of a Red Cross office or two. If the junta perceives neither incentive nor reason to heed the laments of the West, perhaps it is time for a change in strategy by the latter. It is worthwhile to question the efficacy of economic sanctions. Ideally, an option would be to use the cooperation of Myanmar's neighbors and trading partners like China, Thailand and India in an attempt to pressure the junta to mend its errant ways. But we live in troubled times, and there are more pressing concerns that fuel foreign policy. And in a world of dwindling resources, be it natural gas or timber, is it sensible to allow repressive regimes, or other countries unflinching about compromising their principles, to exploit resource-rich countries? Moreover, are the US and the EU themselves blameless and innocent of overlooking similar complaints in countries with which they maintain healthy economic ties?

Is it time for the West to reconsider its stance on Myanmar? As to whether the US-EU sanctions and embargoes levied against the Burmese have had any success is hardly clear - many countries still trade freely with the junta's repressive regime. China and Thailand refuse to impose sanctions; the Chief of the Indian Armed Forces paid a visit earlier this year to discuss military cooperation; and Russia has agreed to build a nuclear research center including a 10MW light-water reactor in Burma. Accusations of corruption, drug trafficking, human right violations, forced labor and torture have been discounted by the junta, while threats of further international isolation have been rebuffed.

Earlier this year, Myanmar accepted a bid by China to construct an oil pipeline from its offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal to mainland China, returning the favor to a highly sought after international ally in the UN Security Council. It was quick to veto in January, along with Russia, a Security Council resolution condemning Myanmar, claiming the country poses no threat to international security.

India has opted for a gradual shift in attitude towards Myanmar, feeling the need to seek Myanmar's help in countering the many insurgent groups that plague its north-east, where the border with Myanmar provides an escape route. India feels obliged to aid the Myanmarese army by providing arms, adding to the military assistance and supplies the country already receives from China and Russia.

In May, North Korea and Myanmar announced that they were restoring diplomatic ties after 24 years. This is as clear a signal as any that Myanmar has no intentions to sway to the West's tune. Myanmar is much more resource-endowed than North Korea is, and perhaps consequently less isolated. The US and the EU should recognize the repercussions that entail when enforcing economic sanctions on Myanmar; namely the junta's urge to exploit its own natural and indigenous resources in unsustainable ways to finance its expenditures, as it has done in the past. Myanmar has 60 percent of the world's teak resources, and exporting timber illegally is a big source of revenue. The government has been profiting for years from the gem trade by giving out mining concessions, and most of the gem trade is still in the black market.

The US renewed its sanctions, and the junta renewed Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest. Constructive engagement may seem like a ridiculous suggestion, but for better or for worse it will change things from the present stalemate. The EU wishes to have free trade with ASEAN, but the antics of this black sheep in the group are proving to be an impediment. Still, the junta's notoriety and brutality seem to deter fewer and fewer interested parties from pursuing lucrative economic engagements with such regimes. It is important to realize that Myanmar's potential gains and geographic proximity to China, India and other Asian nations will weigh in much more in these countries' consideration of how best to deal with the defiant government. For India, it is the gateway to the ASEAN bloc and a viable source of energy; for Thailand, it is a neighbor whose goods, people and problems spill in easily through its own borders; and for China, it has been a fairly obliging ally.

The West needs perspective on its policy towards Myanmar, and this is certainly not to suggest that the activities of the regime should be condoned. It is clear that the junta continues to reign in impunity - there's an occasional admonishment by ASEAN, the odd threat to pull out of the ILO if faced with criticism, and the closure of a Red Cross office or two. If the junta perceives neither incentive nor reason to heed the laments of the West, perhaps it is time for a change in strategy by the latter. It is worthwhile to question the efficacy of economic sanctions. Ideally, an option would be to use the cooperation of Myanmar's neighbors and trading partners like China, Thailand and India in an attempt to pressure the junta to mend its errant ways. But we live in troubled times, and there are more pressing concerns that fuel foreign policy. And in a world of dwindling resources, be it natural gas or timber, is it sensible to allow repressive regimes, or other countries unflinching about compromising their principles, to exploit resource-rich countries? Moreover, are the US and the EU themselves blameless and innocent of overlooking similar complaints in countries with which they maintain healthy economic ties?

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Myanmar and South Korea Sign a Free Trade Agreement

South Korea and Myanmar have signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) this month, and trade between the countries will almost certainly grow, according to Choi Kwang-jin from the Republic of Korea embassy in Myanmar's capital Yangon. The FTA lifts tariffs on 62 percent of commodities imported from ASEAN countries. Choi said that by 2008, South Korea will have abolished 95 percent of tariffs commodities imported from ASEAN countries.

South Korea and Myanmar have signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) this month, and trade between the countries will almost certainly grow, according to Choi Kwang-jin from the Republic of Korea embassy in Myanmar's capital Yangon. The FTA lifts tariffs on 62 percent of commodities imported from ASEAN countries. Choi said that by 2008, South Korea will have abolished 95 percent of tariffs commodities imported from ASEAN countries.

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Brunei to Waive Tariffs on Myanmar Imports

According to the Ministry of Commerce in Myanmar, Brunei has decided to waive import taxes on a number of Myanmar products in an attempt to increase the value of bilateral trade. According to U Than Aung Kyaw, director of ASEAN's Market Information and Research Department, trade between Myanmar and Brunei is low, and the new tariffs were implemented to encourage trade between the two countries.

According to the Ministry of Commerce in Myanmar, Brunei has decided to waive import taxes on a number of Myanmar products in an attempt to increase the value of bilateral trade. According to U Than Aung Kyaw, director of ASEAN's Market Information and Research Department, trade between Myanmar and Brunei is low, and the new tariffs were implemented to encourage trade between the two countries.

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Tainted Toothpaste from China Has No Effect on Myanmar Market

Despite concerns from suppliers, toothpaste producers in Myanmar said reports of tainted toothpaste from China have not had any effect on the local market. Earlier this month, the US Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) issued a warning against certain types of toothpaste after it was discovered that they contained diethylene glycol (DEG), a chemical used as an antifreeze. Local producers said the sale of toothpaste is so low that the warning would not affect the Myanmar market.

Despite concerns from suppliers, toothpaste producers in Myanmar said reports of tainted toothpaste from China have not had any effect on the local market. Earlier this month, the US Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) issued a warning against certain types of toothpaste after it was discovered that they contained diethylene glycol (DEG), a chemical used as an antifreeze. Local producers said the sale of toothpaste is so low that the warning would not affect the Myanmar market.

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Myanmar: "Taxes Paid" Sticker Timeframe Extended

The Myanmar Internal Revenue Department has announced that it has extended the time frame for putting "taxes paid" stickers on some products. In 1996, the Myanmar government started a campaign for all food and beverage products to have a "taxes paid" stamp in an attempt to cut down on illegally imported foods and beverages. Many manufacturers expressed concern that factories had been manipulating the system to avoid paying commercial taxes, and feared their operations would be shut down. In response to their concerns, the government extended the time frame for applying the stickers until the end of the year.

The Myanmar Internal Revenue Department has announced that it has extended the time frame for putting "taxes paid" stickers on some products. In 1996, the Myanmar government started a campaign for all food and beverage products to have a "taxes paid" stamp in an attempt to cut down on illegally imported foods and beverages. Many manufacturers expressed concern that factories had been manipulating the system to avoid paying commercial taxes, and feared their operations would be shut down. In response to their concerns, the government extended the time frame for applying the stickers until the end of the year.

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Myanmar Rice Prices Continue to Rise, Solutions Sought

Rice prices continue to increase in Myanmar despite rising productivity and a decline in rice exports, according to U Min Myint, president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). U Min Myint urged producers, traders and exporters to research into possible causes for the rising prices. One suggestion is that suppliers are hoarding rice supplies to be sold later for a greater price.

Rice prices continue to increase in Myanmar despite rising productivity and a decline in rice exports, according to U Min Myint, president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). U Min Myint urged producers, traders and exporters to research into possible causes for the rising prices. One suggestion is that suppliers are hoarding rice supplies to be sold later for a greater price.

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Brunei Exempts Tariff on Myanmar Products

In order to boost bilateral trade, Brunei has relieved tariffs on more than 200 products imported from Myanmar. According to the ministry, the tariff exemption applies to Myanmar products made with local raw materials whereas products made with foreign raw materials, the exemption is qualified only for those using at least 40 percent of local contents. Some these products include cosmetics, clothes, plywood and electrical appliances.

In order to boost bilateral trade, Brunei has relieved tariffs on more than 200 products imported from Myanmar. According to the ministry, the tariff exemption applies to Myanmar products made with local raw materials whereas products made with foreign raw materials, the exemption is qualified only for those using at least 40 percent of local contents. Some these products include cosmetics, clothes, plywood and electrical appliances.

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Myanmar Cracks Down on Illegal Fish Injecting

Myanmar fishery authorities are cracking down on the illegal process of injecting water into fish to be exported. Merchants inject water with the intention of increasing the weight and volume, but authorities worry that if unpurified water were used, bacteria would be carried into fish. Myanmar's marine exports hit over USD 234 million in 2007, and the country is striving to increase export value in 2008.

Myanmar fishery authorities are cracking down on the illegal process of injecting water into fish to be exported. Merchants inject water with the intention of increasing the weight and volume, but authorities worry that if unpurified water were used, bacteria would be carried into fish. Myanmar's marine exports hit over USD 234 million in 2007, and the country is striving to increase export value in 2008.

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Myanmar Resists India's Offer for a Gas Deal

India is still hoping to strike a gas deal with Myanmar, but Myanmar has resisted, saying that it would sell gas to China, according to Dr. U.D. Chobey from the Gas Authority of India Ltd. India, China, Thailand and South Korea are all competing for gas in Myanmar, which is a plentiful natural resource there.

India is still hoping to strike a gas deal with Myanmar, but Myanmar has resisted, saying that it would sell gas to China, according to Dr. U.D. Chobey from the Gas Authority of India Ltd. India, China, Thailand and South Korea are all competing for gas in Myanmar, which is a plentiful natural resource there.

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Thailand Exempts Neighbors From Agricultural Duties

The Thai government has approved exempting neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar from import duties on certain categories of agricultural products as part of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The ACMECS was begun in 2006 and is intended to run until 2008 with the intention of increasing trade and cooperation throughout the region.

The Thai government has approved exempting neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar from import duties on certain categories of agricultural products as part of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The ACMECS was begun in 2006 and is intended to run until 2008 with the intention of increasing trade and cooperation throughout the region.

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Myanmar's Natural Gas Sales Increase By USD 1 Billion

Myanmar's natural gas sales have earned them more than USD 2 billion in only the past year, increasing its natural gas sale income by USD 1 billion from the last fiscal year. Analysts speculate that the rise in global gas prices contributed to the increase. Myanmar's main export market is Thailand.

Myanmar's natural gas sales have earned them more than USD 2 billion in only the past year, increasing its natural gas sale income by USD 1 billion from the last fiscal year. Analysts speculate that the rise in global gas prices contributed to the increase. Myanmar's main export market is Thailand.

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Price of Rice in Myanmar Finally Drops

The price of rice in Myanmar has finally dropped by about 10 percent since the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders' Association (MRPTA) fixed the price of bags sold at the Rice Trading Center two weeks ago. The MRPTA's action has received a positive response from buyers and, because it eliminates the need for a broker, sellers as well. Many believe the prices could be lowered even more.

The price of rice in Myanmar has finally dropped by about 10 percent since the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders' Association (MRPTA) fixed the price of bags sold at the Rice Trading Center two weeks ago. The MRPTA's action has received a positive response from buyers and, because it eliminates the need for a broker, sellers as well. Many believe the prices could be lowered even more.

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SE Asia Organization to Cooperate on Increasing Rice Exports

The five members of the the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS), which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, are looking to come to an agreement on increasing the quality and image of the region's rice exports. The agreement would include rules on the transfer of farming techniques and market information so that Southeast Asian rice exports can better compete internationally.

The five members of the the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS), which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, are looking to come to an agreement on increasing the quality and image of the region's rice exports. The agreement would include rules on the transfer of farming techniques and market information so that Southeast Asian rice exports can better compete internationally.

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Thailand Has Growing Trade Deficit with Myanmar

Thailand has found itself in a trade deficit with Myanmar for the first time, according to a Thai Customs official. The official said Myanmar's lack of a solid trade policy could have prompted the deficit, which was approximately USD 2.22 billion from April 2006 to March 2007.

Thailand has found itself in a trade deficit with Myanmar for the first time, according to a Thai Customs official. The official said Myanmar's lack of a solid trade policy could have prompted the deficit, which was approximately USD 2.22 billion from April 2006 to March 2007.

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Myanmar Holds Gem Sale in Attempt to Encourage Foreign Exchange

In an effort to boost foreign exchange, Myanmar will hold a gem sale July 4 in Yangon. According to the Central Committee for Sponsoring the Special Sale of Gem, Jade and Pearl, the sale will be organized with a competitive bidding system. Myanmar held a similar sale in March with much success, gaining proceeds of USD 185 million and attracting almost 3,500 merchants from Myanmar and neighboring countries.

In an effort to boost foreign exchange, Myanmar will hold a gem sale July 4 in Yangon. According to the Central Committee for Sponsoring the Special Sale of Gem, Jade and Pearl, the sale will be organized with a competitive bidding system. Myanmar held a similar sale in March with much success, gaining proceeds of USD 185 million and attracting almost 3,500 merchants from Myanmar and neighboring countries.

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A Joint Effort to Increase Rice Exports

Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand are joining together in an effort to improve the image and quality of the region's rice. In Vietnam alone, rice exports declined 21 percent in volume and eight percent in value during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year. The countries hope to increase the competitiveness of their region's rice by exchanging global market information and farming techniques among each other.

Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand are joining together in an effort to improve the image and quality of the region's rice. In Vietnam alone, rice exports declined 21 percent in volume and eight percent in value during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year. The countries hope to increase the competitiveness of their region's rice by exchanging global market information and farming techniques among each other.

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SME Exhibition to Come to Myanmar

In an effort to boost bilateral trade and cooperative relations between India and Myanmar, the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) exhibition will open in November of this year in Rangoon. G.L. Goenka, president of the Indo-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the purpose of the exhibition is to encourage Indian SMEs to invest in Myanmar.

In an effort to boost bilateral trade and cooperative relations between India and Myanmar, the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) exhibition will open in November of this year in Rangoon. G.L. Goenka, president of the Indo-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the purpose of the exhibition is to encourage Indian SMEs to invest in Myanmar.

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Myanmar's Ruling Junta Asks the ILO to Review Forced Labor Resolutions

Officials of Myanmar's ruling junta have asked the International Labor Organization (ILO) to reassess resolutions on the issue of forced labor. Aung Kyi, Deputy Minister for Labor in Myanmar, cited the Supplementary Understanding as an effective agreement between Myanmar and the ILO. The agreement implemented a complaint system, which allows the ILO liaison officer to report forced labor. Since the agreement was made, the officer has made over 20 complaints.

Officials of Myanmar's ruling junta have asked the International Labor Organization (ILO) to reassess resolutions on the issue of forced labor. Aung Kyi, Deputy Minister for Labor in Myanmar, cited the Supplementary Understanding as an effective agreement between Myanmar and the ILO. The agreement implemented a complaint system, which allows the ILO liaison officer to report forced labor. Since the agreement was made, the officer has made over 20 complaints.

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Myanmar, Bangladesh and Thailand Introduce a Trade-boosting Cargo Liner

In an effort to boost maritime trade, Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh will introduce a cargo liner that will stop at major cities in each country. According to Bangladeshi officials, cargo transport will be much more efficient for the three countries. Myanmar and Bangladesh currently have strong bilateral trade, reaching over USD 60 million, but both countries wish to increase it to USD 100 million and believe the cargo liner will provide the means to accomplish this goal.

In an effort to boost maritime trade, Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh will introduce a cargo liner that will stop at major cities in each country. According to Bangladeshi officials, cargo transport will be much more efficient for the three countries. Myanmar and Bangladesh currently have strong bilateral trade, reaching over USD 60 million, but both countries wish to increase it to USD 100 million and believe the cargo liner will provide the means to accomplish this goal.

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Myanmar to Strengthen Economic Ties with Yunnan, China

To encourage economic relations with Yunnan, China, Myanmar will build a road and a railroad upon which to export natural gas. Lieutenant General Thein Sein, first secretary of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), said both countries wish to make "arrangements to cooperate in mining and hydroelectric power." Also soon to be underway is the construction of a 1,479 mile gas pipeline from Myanmar to Yunnan's capital city, Kunming.

To encourage economic relations with Yunnan, China, Myanmar will build a road and a railroad upon which to export natural gas. Lieutenant General Thein Sein, first secretary of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), said both countries wish to make "arrangements to cooperate in mining and hydroelectric power." Also soon to be underway is the construction of a 1,479 mile gas pipeline from Myanmar to Yunnan's capital city, Kunming.

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Myanmar USDA and China-ASEAN Association Strengthen Ties

The Union Solidarity and Developmental Association (USDA) of Myanmar and the China-ASEAN Association both wish to strengthen connections with each other and maintain a cooperative friendship, according to the wishes expressed by representatives from both associations. After its visit with Myanmar, the Chinese delegation will proceed to Indonesia and Brunei in hopes of promoting similar, friendly relations.

The Union Solidarity and Developmental Association (USDA) of Myanmar and the China-ASEAN Association both wish to strengthen connections with each other and maintain a cooperative friendship, according to the wishes expressed by representatives from both associations. After its visit with Myanmar, the Chinese delegation will proceed to Indonesia and Brunei in hopes of promoting similar, friendly relations.

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Myanmar: Western Sanctions Unnecessary, According to ASEAN

It is unnecessary to give Western sanctions to Myanmar in an effort to force democracy, according to Ong Keng Yong, secretary-general of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ong said Monday that even without Western sanctions, military-ruled Myanmar would avoid collapse because of the continued support of its neighbors, China and India. China, which successfully controls northern Myanmar's economy, and India, which has a strong trade with Myanmar, have both refused to join European and U.S. sanctions.

It is unnecessary to give Western sanctions to Myanmar in an effort to force democracy, according to Ong Keng Yong, secretary-general of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ong said Monday that even without Western sanctions, military-ruled Myanmar would avoid collapse because of the continued support of its neighbors, China and India. China, which successfully controls northern Myanmar's economy, and India, which has a strong trade with Myanmar, have both refused to join European and U.S. sanctions.

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Russia, Myanmar Discuss Nuclear Research Center

Myanmar, a country ruled by a self-enriching military junta, which in April reopened diplomatic ties with North Korea, is seeking Russian assistance in building a 'research' reactor in the country. Russia has estimated that the project, including the training of Burmese technicians and construction of the facility, will cost up to USD 500 million. The junta hopes that, in addition to construction and training assistance, it can acquire outside financial assistance to construct the 10 megawatt reactor. Many outside observers view this as a ploy by Russia to compete against Chinese influence in the petroleum-rich country.

Myanmar, a country ruled by a self-enriching military junta, which in April reopened diplomatic ties with North Korea, is seeking Russian assistance in building a 'research' reactor in the country. Russia has estimated that the project, including the training of Burmese technicians and construction of the facility, will cost up to USD 500 million. The junta hopes that, in addition to construction and training assistance, it can acquire outside financial assistance to construct the 10 megawatt reactor. Many outside observers view this as a ploy by Russia to compete against Chinese influence in the petroleum-rich country.

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Australian Consortium Enters Myanmar's Oil and Gas Sector

An Australian-led consortium has become the latest player to enter Myanmar's offshore hydrocarbon sector, reaching an agreement with Myanmar to begin offshore exploration and production sharing on the Yetagun East Block in the Gulf of Martaban. Offshore hydrocarbon is considered the most important and dynamic industry in Myanmar, and the sustainable and secure supply of energy from Myanmar's abundant, relatively untapped resources has long been a priority for Myanmar.

An Australian-led consortium has become the latest player to enter Myanmar's offshore hydrocarbon sector, reaching an agreement with Myanmar to begin offshore exploration and production sharing on the Yetagun East Block in the Gulf of Martaban. Offshore hydrocarbon is considered the most important and dynamic industry in Myanmar, and the sustainable and secure supply of energy from Myanmar's abundant, relatively untapped resources has long been a priority for Myanmar.

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Korea Criticizes 3 ASEAN Nations Over FTA Treaty

The new free trade agreement between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has hit a road block as three ASEAN countries have failed to implement the necessary legal measures on time. The South Korean government strongly urged Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam to correct the problem and refund the tariffs levied against Korean products since June 1, when the FTA treaty went into effect. Korea also threatened that, if the necessary changes were not implemented, Korea would exercise its rights under the agreement against them.

The new free trade agreement between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has hit a road block as three ASEAN countries have failed to implement the necessary legal measures on time. The South Korean government strongly urged Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam to correct the problem and refund the tariffs levied against Korean products since June 1, when the FTA treaty went into effect. Korea also threatened that, if the necessary changes were not implemented, Korea would exercise its rights under the agreement against them.

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Myanmar Cooperates with Asian Neighbors on Hydropower Production

Myanmar is cooperating with neighbors Thailand, China, South Korea, and Bangladesh on hydropower development by initiating a substantial number of hyrdopower programs with these countries. The driving impetus for these cooperative programs comes as a response to serious power shortages in Myanmar. Rich in water resources, Myanmar has great potential for development in the hydropower sector, but more foreign investment is still needed for the sector to develop.

Myanmar is cooperating with neighbors Thailand, China, South Korea, and Bangladesh on hydropower development by initiating a substantial number of hyrdopower programs with these countries. The driving impetus for these cooperative programs comes as a response to serious power shortages in Myanmar. Rich in water resources, Myanmar has great potential for development in the hydropower sector, but more foreign investment is still needed for the sector to develop.

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Agricultural Exports Up 75 Percent in Myanmar

Myanmar's agricultural exports increased 75.4 percent from 2005-06 fiscal year to the 2006-07 fiscal year, with USD930 million in exports. Myanmar's agriculture accounts for 50.1 percent of the national economy and has an annual growth rate of 9.8 percent. Since only 16.1 percent of the total land area of Myanmar is currently being cultivated, there is large potential for growth.

Myanmar's agricultural exports increased 75.4 percent from 2005-06 fiscal year to the 2006-07 fiscal year, with USD930 million in exports. Myanmar's agriculture accounts for 50.1 percent of the national economy and has an annual growth rate of 9.8 percent. Since only 16.1 percent of the total land area of Myanmar is currently being cultivated, there is large potential for growth.

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Myanmar Chooses China Over India as Gas Buyer

Despite India's offer of USD4.759 per mmbtu for Myanmar's A1 and A3 blocks of natural gas, Myanmar has accepted China's offer of only USD4.279 per mmbtu. India currently owns 30 percent of the A1 and A3 sectors. The Myanmar energy minister informed India that its offer would not be considered, despite its favorable prices. India also offered an internal rate of return (IRR) of 18 percent to build the pipelines, while China only offered an IRR of 12 percent. India is now reconsidering its investment decisions for other gas sectors in Myanmar.

Despite India's offer of USD4.759 per mmbtu for Myanmar's A1 and A3 blocks of natural gas, Myanmar has accepted China's offer of only USD4.279 per mmbtu. India currently owns 30 percent of the A1 and A3 sectors. The Myanmar energy minister informed India that its offer would not be considered, despite its favorable prices. India also offered an internal rate of return (IRR) of 18 percent to build the pipelines, while China only offered an IRR of 12 percent. India is now reconsidering its investment decisions for other gas sectors in Myanmar.

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Gas Boom Keeps Myanmar's Junta Set in its Ways

Driven by soaring demand for its vast natural gas supplies, Myanmar's two-way trade rose to $7.9 billion last year, up from $5.5 billion in 2005. With the gas boom helping Myanmar develop economic ties with neighbors such as India and China, the ruling military party is unlikely to bow to external and internal reform pressure anytime in the near future. Activists have become increasingly frustrated with the junta's detention of Nobel laurate Ms Suu Kyi, as well as high inflation, power cuts, and the disbandment of a number of civil society organizations.

Driven by soaring demand for its vast natural gas supplies, Myanmar's two-way trade rose to $7.9 billion last year, up from $5.5 billion in 2005. With the gas boom helping Myanmar develop economic ties with neighbors such as India and China, the ruling military party is unlikely to bow to external and internal reform pressure anytime in the near future. Activists have become increasingly frustrated with the junta's detention of Nobel laurate Ms Suu Kyi, as well as high inflation, power cuts, and the disbandment of a number of civil society organizations.

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Despite Sanctions, Myanmar's Trade Up 40 Percent

Trade volume in Myanmar jumped 40 percent to $7.93 billion through the fiscal year ended March 31, though trade in border regions outside the government's control could not be accounted for. Much of the rising trade figures can be attributed to a boost in natural gas exports, primarily to China, India, and Thailand, though the Directorate of Trade also points to a recent crackdown on the country's black market. Exports increased from $3.55 billion to $5.01 billion.

Trade volume in Myanmar jumped 40 percent to $7.93 billion through the fiscal year ended March 31, though trade in border regions outside the government's control could not be accounted for. Much of the rising trade figures can be attributed to a boost in natural gas exports, primarily to China, India, and Thailand, though the Directorate of Trade also points to a recent crackdown on the country's black market. Exports increased from $3.55 billion to $5.01 billion.

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myanmar

ILO Urges ASEAN Members to Boost Productivity Growth

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

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myanmar

Air Transport Services Open in the Mekong Sub-Region

An airline service between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) has plans for development in the near future. CLMV plans to grant travel privileges to the citizens of each country with less restrictions. Additionally, the countries will give investors more flexibility in the development of air transport services since it is now open to other CLMV countries.

An airline service between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) has plans for development in the near future. CLMV plans to grant travel privileges to the citizens of each country with less restrictions. Additionally, the countries will give investors more flexibility in the development of air transport services since it is now open to other CLMV countries.

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myanmar

Russia to Bring Nuclear Energy to Myanmar

The atomic energy agency of Russia, Rosatom, has agreed to build a nuclear research reactor in Myanmar, and will train around 350 students from Myanmar in Russian nuclear institutes. While nuclear technology in military-ruled Myanmar is very likely to garner harsh criticism, the facility will be governed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the power-deprived nation's current financial and technological constraints make weapons development unrealistic.

The atomic energy agency of Russia, Rosatom, has agreed to build a nuclear research reactor in Myanmar, and will train around 350 students from Myanmar in Russian nuclear institutes. While nuclear technology in military-ruled Myanmar is very likely to garner harsh criticism, the facility will be governed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the power-deprived nation's current financial and technological constraints make weapons development unrealistic.

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myanmar

ACU Considers Multi-Currency Adoption, Names New Members

Meeting at the 36th board meeting of the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), the directors of the union's member banks created a technical committee to look into the possibility of introducing multi-currency settlements. Currently, ACU countries are required to settle external trade payments exclusively with US dollars. In addition, the ACU welcomed Afghanistan and the Maldives to its ranks, and have extended membership invitations to a number of Central Asian and CIS nations.

Meeting at the 36th board meeting of the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), the directors of the union's member banks created a technical committee to look into the possibility of introducing multi-currency settlements. Currently, ACU countries are required to settle external trade payments exclusively with US dollars. In addition, the ACU welcomed Afghanistan and the Maldives to its ranks, and have extended membership invitations to a number of Central Asian and CIS nations.

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myanmar

Joint Oil Exploration Underway in Myanmar

Following the signing of a joint contract between Myanmar's state-owned energy firm and energy firms from Singapore and Russia, oil exploration has begun in Myanmar's northeast region. The contract continues the trend of foreign oil companies tapping the wealth of natural resources in Myanmar, which has been a savior for a ruling military party that continues to face economic sanctions imposed by the US and EU.

Following the signing of a joint contract between Myanmar's state-owned energy firm and energy firms from Singapore and Russia, oil exploration has begun in Myanmar's northeast region. The contract continues the trend of foreign oil companies tapping the wealth of natural resources in Myanmar, which has been a savior for a ruling military party that continues to face economic sanctions imposed by the US and EU.

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myanmar

Bangladesh's Plans for Direct Flight Trade with Myanmar

In an attempt to boost exports, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, Bangladesh's Commerce Ministry has initiated a proposal to its government's Council of Advisers to begin direct flight service to neighboring Myanmar. The Commerce Ministry has also proposed resuming border trade with Myanmar, their third-largest export destination for pharmaceuticals. A meeting between Bangladesh's Commerce, Civil Aviation, and Shipping ministries is imminent, but a foreign currency crisis and an inadequate amount of banking facilities in Myanmar must be overcome before any progress is made.

In an attempt to boost exports, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, Bangladesh's Commerce Ministry has initiated a proposal to its government's Council of Advisers to begin direct flight service to neighboring Myanmar. The Commerce Ministry has also proposed resuming border trade with Myanmar, their third-largest export destination for pharmaceuticals. A meeting between Bangladesh's Commerce, Civil Aviation, and Shipping ministries is imminent, but a foreign currency crisis and an inadequate amount of banking facilities in Myanmar must be overcome before any progress is made.

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myanmar

ADB Reform Questions Produce Tension, Not Answers

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

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myanmar

ASEAN+3 Agree to Establish Foreign Reserves Pool

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

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myanmar

Asian Financial Chiefs Meet to Discuss Financial Cooperation

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

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myanmar

ASEAN Regional Financial System to be Established

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

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Other Important News In Myanmar


Wages and Jobs Shrinking in Myanmar

At least 3000 jobs have been eliminated in Myanmar last week, as the country starts to feel the effects of the global financial crisis.

At least 3000 jobs have been eliminated in Myanmar last week, as the country starts to feel the effects of the global financial crisis. Many of Rangoon's factories have begun to lay off a large number workers as demand for exports has decreased significantly. In Rangoon alone there are 2500 factories and 120,000 worker. Previously workers in the mainly garment factories were earning wages of $30 per month. Now, however, wages are either being cut in half or eliminated all together.

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Forests Rethink Could Earn Burma $1b

Under an initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, industrialized nations would pay Myanmar and other rainforest nations to reduce their deforestation rates.

Under an initiative proposed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, industrialized nations would pay Myanmar and other rainforest nations to reduce their deforestation rates. The aggressive plan is an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to allow industrialized nations meet the greenhouse gas emissions limits set under the Kyoto Protocol. If Myanmar reduces deforestation on half of its rainforests, it can make at least $800 million.

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Myanmar Seeks Better Business Ties with Brunei

Myanmar delegates visiting Brunei cited the need for possible tourism and energy alliances.

Myanmar delegates visiting Brunei cited the need for possible tourism and energy alliances. At the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), the delegates welcomed Bruneian companies to venture into Myanmar and join other countries currently investing in the energy business. Trade between Brunei and Myanmar only reached USD 800,000. A lack of natural complementaries is cited as the cause for the low figure.

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Myanmar Retrieves More Lands for Industrial Expansion

Myanmar is retrieving more lands in its biggest city of Yangon for the purpose of increasing its industrial zones.

Myanmar is retrieving more lands in its biggest city of Yangon for the purpose of increasing its industrial zones. Myanmar is planning to set out plants and workshops away from the residential areas to decrease environmental problems. Some of the factories are believed to have affected the local residents physically and psychologically.

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India, Myanmar to Sign Agreement on Port

Despite political turmoil in Myanmar, India and Myanmar are very likely to sign an agreement on a port at the Kaladan River very soon. The river will provide India's land-locked states in the

Despite political turmoil in Myanmar, India and Myanmar are very likely to sign an agreement on a port at the Kaladan River very soon. The river will provide India's land-locked states in the northeastern part of the country with access to the Bay of Bengal, allowing to overcome Bangladesh's refusal to provide transit. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the agreement is going to be signed within a few weeks, enabling the project to be started early next year.

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ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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Yangon Airways Releases E-Tickets

Myanmar's Yangon Airways has begun offering e-tickets as an option for its customers. To make a flight reservation, travelers can visit http://www.yangonair.com/ and make a payment with a bank transfer. In addition to improving service with e-tickets, Yangon Airways announced that it plans to buy another aircraft for outbound charter flights.

Myanmar's Yangon Airways has begun offering e-tickets as an option for its customers. To make a flight reservation, travelers can visit http://www.yangonair.com/ and make a payment with a bank transfer. In addition to improving service with e-tickets, Yangon Airways announced that it plans to buy another aircraft for outbound charter flights.

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Myanmar to Establish Special Economic Zones

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

Myanmar has announced its plans to establish six "economic zones," which are special areas that will exempt foreign investors making direct investment from taxation for two to eight years. The special economic zones (SEZ) were developed in an effort to encourage foreign investment and to promote economic development. Prospective investment sectors include agriculture, livestock and banking.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh Officials to Meet, Third Time in Three Months

The business relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh seems to be stabilizing as Myanmar's Senior General Maung Aye plans to pay a visit to Bangladesh on September 10. Aye will be visiting Chief Advsior Fakhruddin Ahmed to discuss enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. A diplomatic source said: "The visit will hopefully pave the way for building a solid relationship between the two next-door neighbours."

The business relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh seems to be stabilizing as Myanmar's Senior General Maung Aye plans to pay a visit to Bangladesh on September 10. Aye will be visiting Chief Advsior Fakhruddin Ahmed to discuss enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. A diplomatic source said: "The visit will hopefully pave the way for building a solid relationship between the two next-door neighbours."

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