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China’s top planning agency doubles down on Belt and Road collaboration

Ning Jizhe, vice chair of China’s top planning agency National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), visited Myanmar from November 24 to 27. The visit is built on the consensus reached by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and China’s leader Xi Jinping at the end of 2017, with regards to the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC).

Mr. Ning visited the sites of CITIC Group, China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), China Railway Group Limited (CRG) and Yunnan Provincial Energy Investment Group Co., Ltd. (YEIG).

CITIC leads a consortium which was chosen by the government as the developer of a proposed deep-sea port in Kyaukphyu, central Rakhine. CCCC, a China state-owned company and was sanctioned by the World Bank for its fraud and corruption practices from January 2009 until January 2017, signed an agreement with a regional body to prepare a detailed infrastructure proposal for an ambitious new Yangon city project.

According to a statement from the Chinese embassy in Yangon on November 28, Myanmar created a “Belt and Road implementation steering committee”, which is chaired by the state counselor and includes chief ministers from sub-national governments as well as representatives from various departments.

This year, the framework agreement for Kyaukphyu’s port and a MoU for the feasibility research of Muse-Mandalay railroad project were signed.

In addition, negotiations were also made for cooperation on new Yangon city project.and China-Myanmar border “economic zones”.

China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) stretches from China’s Yunnan to Myanmar’s Yangon and Kyaukphyu area. The designated locations are the key areas for the bilateral collaboration in trade and investment, according to the embassy’s press release.

The statement added that by setting up the CMEC, the basic infrastructures of the two countries can be connected and cooperation will be promoted on sectors such as agriculture, energy, financing, tourism, “digital silk road” and border trading zone.

China is Myanmar’s biggest foreign investor in terms of approved FDI.

SOURCE: MYANMAR TIMES

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