China Eyes Mon State Investment
By Hintharnee 10 October 2017
MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang indicated his country is considering investment in Mon State during a meeting with the state government on Friday.
According to the Chinese ambassador, investors are interested in rubber products manufacturing, fruit cultivation and the tourism sector, said Mon State minister for natural resources and environmental conservation Dr. Min Kyi Win, who was present at the meeting.
“The Chinese ambassador thinks Mon State has good potential for economic development and suggested Chinese investment in Mon State. And we’ve welcomed his suggestion,” Dr. Min Kyi Win told The Irrawaddy.
Thailand is the biggest investor in Mon State, with Thai petroleum firm PTTEP investing US$2.146 billion in an offshore gas field in the Gulf of Martaban—the largest investment among 18 international investors in Myanmar’s energy sector as well as the largest foreign investment in the state.
Thailand’s $414 million Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) cement plant is also the largest investment in Mon State’s industrial sector.
The Chinese ambassador’s visit to the area is the first on its kind under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government.
The ambassador said China is interested in importing fruits from Mon State, especially pomelo, pomelo juice and dried pomelo, said Daw San Wint Khaing, the Pa-O ethnic affairs minister for Mon State.
“What we want is a market economy rather than their investment. We have to try to build a seller’s market rather than a buyer’s market,” she said.
The 15-member Chinese diplomat delegation led by Hong Liang met Mon State chief minister Dr. Aye Zan and other ministers. The Chinese ambassador also invited the chief minister to visit China, according to ministers.
In early 2017, Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) issued an announcement for the establishment of investment commissions at region and state levels.
According to the instruction, region and state governments are authorized to decide on investment proposals of less than $5 million for their areas but have to seek MIC approval for investments of more than $5 million.
Investment commissions at region and state levels have seven members, headed by chief ministers. Staff officers of relevant investment and company administration boards act as secretary, and five ministers as members.
Mon State received more than $5.433 billion in foreign investment from 1994 to the end of 2016, according to records of the Mon State Directorate of Investment and Company.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.