Burma and Thailand Sign 16 Business Agreements

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 2 February 2017

RANGOON — As Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak visited Burma, Thai and Burmese officials signed 16 bilateral business memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on Thursday in Naypyidaw.

The 16 MOUs in six different business sectors were designed to foster greater cooperation between Thai companies, Burma government ministries, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), according to UMFCCI vice president U Ye Min Aung. The MOUs include agreements for cooperation in the banking and agricultural sectors.

“These are big agreements that the NLD government is signing with Thailand,” said U Ye Min Aung. “Thailand is among the top foreign investors here, and these agreements will foster more economic cooperation.”

Infrastructure development was another sector that saw major agreements signed.

“These agreements are made from government to government, and from government to business too,” he said. “Every industry has signed an MOU here today.”

In the finance sector, KBZ Bank signed an agreement with the Thai government over remittance services, according to U Nyo Myint, a senior official in the KBZ Group.

“Many Burmese workers are working in Thailand,” said U Nyo Myint. “So that’s why remittance services should be more active. We have been working with Thai banks already, and today we signed an agreement in front of the Thai government that will strengthen that level of cooperation.”

KBZ Bank has already opened a branch office in Thailand, and last year it introduced a remittance service that can be used by workers in both countries.

“Thai investors are near the top among foreign direct investment in Burma,” said U Nyo Myint. “And our economic cooperation will grow bigger in the future.”

According to figures from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, Thailand’s investment in Burma reached US$106 million during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Thailand invests more money in Burma annually than all but three other nations—Singapore ($2.6 billion), China ($447 million), and Hong Kong ($187 million).