Region vows to boost economic ties

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) have agreed to increase cooperation in agriculture, industry and energy production at their seventh annual summit as well as the sixth annual Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) summit in Nay Pyi Taw.

The amount of trade among CLMV in 2013 was 12.4 per cent of total Asean trade and increased to 14.1 per cent in 2014.

Gas plant studies near completion

A construction site at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. (Photo - EMG)

YANGON – Myanmar’s Eden Group and firms from Japan and Thailand are conducting a feasibility study to build a 400MW natural gas plant at Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), south of Yangon, says Chit Khaing, chairman of the Eden Group.

“The feasibility study on generating power has lasted nearly six months. The power plant project may be implemented in 2016,” said Chit Khaing.

Magway hit by landslides

June has seen riverbanks along the Ayeyarwady, Chindwin and Myittha rivers and their tributaries collapse.

The banks of the Shwechaung, Monechaung and Mannchaung rivers, spanning 70 villages, also collapsed last year. The sandbank on which Magway’s Myathalon Pagoda sits has apparently eroded significantly in the last 50 years. Construction started on two 50-foot-long levees last week to protect the site.

Myanmar to export 200,000 tonnes of rice to EU

Myanmar expects to earn US$1 billion on exports of 200,000 tonnes of rice to European Union countries during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to Ye Min Aubg, the secretary of the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Federation.

Dollar drops to Ks 1,155

As of June 18, the value of the US dollar has fallen to Ks 1,155 in the private market, according sources within the currency exchange market.

The current reference rate for the dollar set by the Central Bank of Myanmar is now Ks 1,105, while the selling and buying rates in the private market are Ks 1155 and Ks 1150, respectively. The dollar value for trade profit is also hovering around the Ks 1,155 range.

Car imports decline as Thai currency rises

As the value of the Thai baht increases along with the US dollar, the cost of importing a car from Thailand has risen by up to Ks 1 million. Therefore, the number of legal car imports over the Thai border has become remarkably low, according to import-export businesspeople.

Buyers face difficulty as currency exchangers withhold dollars

People seeking to buy US dollars have faced difficulty in recent weeks because exchange counters in local banks have refused to sell US dollars at the market rate, instead keeping them with the expectation that their value will soon increase.

“I tried to buy some dollars for my trip abroad this morning. I couldn’t get any. I went to some money changers as well. They were not selling any because the authorities are monitoring the black market. Finally, I bought some from my friends,” one buyer said.

Licence-free trade products to be announced

There are already more than 3,000 HS or harmonised-system codes and 318 licence-free trade products, and more goods that can be traded without a licence will be announced next month, according to Department of Trade Promotion.

“The new merchandise that can be traded without export/import licences will be announced in July. Those licence-free products have only to pass through customs,” said an official from the department.

Altogether 152 export products and 166 imported goods do not need trade licences.

Singapore tops investor list

April and May saw investment of more than US$2.3 billion from 11 countries and Hong Kong, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

China, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, the Netherlands and the UK are among the biggest investors but Singapore tops the list with US$1.4 billion.

Since the 1988-89 financial year, foreign investment has reached US$56.5 billion.

Factory owners offer Ks1,500 a day

Factory owners have threatened to shut down operations if an “unaffordable” minimum wage rate emerges before a new level could be fixed, while offering to pay just Ks1,500 a day.

Garment entrepreneurs apparently told Daw Win Maw Tun, deputy minister for labour, employment and social security, at a meeting that they would shutdown their factories if an “unreasonable” minimum wage was fixed.