Boosting Economic Development in Thai-Myanmar Border Areas (25/07/2012)
Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to promote further economic development in their shared border areas.

The issue was one of the topics of discussion during the three-day visit to Thailand by U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, from 22 to 24 July 2012.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that she had proposed the establishment of three permanent border crossings between Thailand and Myanmar. The border crossings include Kio Pha Wok checkpoint in Chiang Mai province, Ban Huai Ton Nun checkpoint in Mae Hong Son province, and Ban Phu Nam Ron checkpoint in Kanchanaburi province.

In addition, she said, Thailand is considering the possibility of opening a temporary crossing point at Tako Bon checkpoint in Ratchaburi province. It proposed the setting up of a Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Association, so that it would be the counterpart to the Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Association, which had already been established by the Thai side.

Thailand reaffirmed its readiness to support Myanmar and proposed development cooperation between the two countries in four priority areas, namely capacity-building of human resources, enhancing the preparedness of Myanmar to serve as ASEAN Chair in 2014, economic reform and alternative development, and infrastructure development.

Both countries agreed to work closely on the development of Myanmar’s Dawei deep-sea port, which will be connected with the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Thailand. The Myanmar side will benefit from the development of industrial estates in the Dawei area, while the Thai side will benefit from the further development of the Eastern Seaboard. A Thai-Myanmar working group was set up at the ministerial level, and the working group will meet in August 2012 to consider various pending issues related to Thai-Myanmar cooperation in Dawei, ways and means to work together to expand the industrial area, and how to take care of communities located in the area.

Thailand and Myanmar signed two important documents during the visit of the Myanmar President. The three documents include the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Comprehensive Development in the Dawei Special Economic Zone and its Related Project Areas, the MOU on the Development Cooperation in Myanmar, and the Joint Statement for the Establishment of Energy Forum.

Prime Minister Yingluck stated that both countries had agreed to cooperate in the development of the rice industry in Myanmar and on the issue of Myanmar labor in Thailand. Progress has also been made in their cooperation in various areas, especially in the economic field, trade, investment, Myanmar labor in Thailand, and the fight against narcotics. Thailand and Myanmar will celebrate the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2013.

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