Myanmar, Thailand to build second bridge to boost border trade

14:48, October 20, 2009      

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Myanmar and Thailand will construct another friendship bridge to connect two border trade towns of the two countries to boost bilateral trade, sources with the Union of Myanmar Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) said on Tuesday.

The bridge linking Myanmar's Myawaddy and Thailand's Maesot is estimated to cost 400 million bahts (11.9 million U.S. dollars), the sources said.

About 5 km away from the old one, the new bridge, on completion,is expected to raise bilateral border trade from 20 billion bahts (597.5 million dollars) to 40 billion bahts (1.195 billion dollars)once a special economic zone on the Myanmar side is opened, the UMFCCI quoted the Thai ministry of Commerce as saying.

Meanwhile, Myanmar and Thai businessmen met in Yangon last month to seek ways of boosting trade between the two countries, proposing to cooperate in some industrial sectors.

The areas of cooperation between the UMFCCI and the Thai Ministry of Commerce cover the sectors of textile, pharmaceuticals, paper plant, printing, agriculture, plastic and rubber, the sources said, adding that some Thai counterparts would move to setup factories on the Myanmar side and run their businesses with local staff.

Myanmar-Thailand bilateral trade hit 3.05 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2008-09 which ended in March, according to the latest figures of the government's Central Statistical Organization.

Of the total, Myanmar's export amounted to 2.655 billion U.S. dollars, while its import stood 398.28 million dollars, enjoying atrade surplus of 2.25 billion dollars.

Thailand stood the first in Myanmar's foreign trade partner line-up during the year, followed by Singapore, China, India, China's Hong Kong region, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.

In 2007-08, Thailand also led as Myanmar's top trading partner as well as top exporting country.

Thailand exports to Myanmar textile, shoes, marine products, rice, rubber, jewelry, motor cars, computer and electronic accessories and vice versa, while importing from Myanmar forestry products, marine products, agricultural produces and natural gas.

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