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Border zone with China to go ahead

An approval regarding the location of the proposed China-Myanmar border economic zone will be given “soon”, assistant secretary U Khin Maung Lwin from the Ministry of Commerce told The Myanmar Times.

The discussions were carried out last week by the implementation body with priority made between Kachin and Shan states as they share the border with China, the ministry said.

“There are some suitable locations both in Kachin and Shan states. The talks were about which one to prioritise and which one follows which,” he said.

China has some preferences in the two states and negotiations are also underway for Myanmar to choose its preference. When agreed, the Myanmar side will announce its preferred locations and will inform China too, the assistant secretary said.

“We will seek approval for the locations after discussing the details. After getting approval we will inform China and make an announcement,” U Khin Maung Lwin added.

The main part of a free trade area will be on land where both countries meet.

After selecting the location, invitation will be made for Expression of Interest (EOI) from local and foreign investors, the assistant secretary explained. The MoU for the project was signed las year. After securing a bilateral agreement, the implementation will begin.

During State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China in 2017, that project was among the five agreements secured. Border trade gates are at Lweje, Chin Shwe Haw and Kan Pite Tee in Kachin State and Muse in Shan State.

China is the top partner for Myanmar’s border trade and trade volumes for the first three months of this budget year amount to US$220 million and US$1500 million in Kachin’s three trade gates and Shan’s Muse respectively.

With the establishment of a China-Myanmar border economic zone, free trade can take place and Myanmar can boost its exports to the Chinese market. The project will serve to promote local goods and services as well as create job opportunities for Myanmar citizens. The Myanmar Times understands that the new economic zone will differ from the Muse border trade gate and offer a wider scope for bilateral trade cooperation, including schemes to invest in factories and mills as well as to develop a more robust tourism sector.

Source: Myanmar Times

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