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Myanmar Business News in Brief

All Asia Asset Capital says Myanmar agreement close to approval

All Asia Asset Capital Ltd said the signing of the power plant agreement between APU, the Myanmar and Thailand-focused power generation firm in which All Asia Capital recently increased its stake, and the Myanmar government has now been passed on for final approval. All Asia Capital said the agreement had been subject to “minor delays of a technical nature,” but that the Myanmar government has now passed it to the economic department. All Asia Capital’s agreement to acquire a 4.5 percent stake in APU is dependent on the power plant agreement being signed.

Myanmar-Laos bridge to boost regional trade

The first Myanmar-Laos Bridge, connecting Tachileik and Luang Namtha, will be completed next year and is expected to boost the economies on both sides of the Mekong. The Thai-Myanmar Cultural and Economic Cooperation Association and the Chiangsaen International Institute for Skill Development recently surveyed the progress of the $26-million bridge. Phakaimas Weerra, Pakaimas Vierra, president of the association, told Thai media that the bridge would enhance the livelihoods of communities on both sides, and would improve transport from Chiang Saen district in Chiang Rai province and Jinghong city in the far south of China’s Yunnan province. The two-lane Myanmar-Laos Bridge will span 691 metres and be able to support up to 75 tonnes.

Myanmar health and information ministers step down

Myanmar’s ministers for information and health have resigned, state media reported last week, the latest changes in a cabinet that has been grappling with a host of problems as the country presses on with reforms after decades of military rule. The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that President Thein Sein had “allowed” Information Minister Aung Kyi and Health Minister Pe Thet Khin to step down “of their own volition”. No reason was given for the resignations but the work of both of their ministries has been in the public spotlight in recent months. Several times in the past, ministers who were reported as having stepped down “of their own volition” were later found to have been forced out of the cabinet.

Myanmar makes $2.9 million heroin bust in ‘Golden Triangle’

The authorities have seized 140 kilograms of heroin packed into blocks and hidden in a car in the notorious “Golden Triangle” area near the Thai border, police said last week. Two men were arrested in the border town of Tachileik in eastern Shan State during the bust, which netted drugs with a street value of $2.3 million, police told AFP. Opium, heroin and methamphetamine pills are frequently smuggled from Myanmar into Thailand, the gateway to the Southeast Asian narcotics market. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says 10 per cent of the world’s opium is produced in Myanmar, making it the second largest producer of the drug – the base ingredient for heroin – after Afghanistan.

S Korea to loan $500 million for Myanmar’s economic development

South Korea is helping Myanmar in its economic development by extending economic development cooperation fund (EDCF) to the country for implementing development projects. According to a framework agreement signed recently between the two countries, South Korea will disburse $500 million in loan to Myanmar with low interest rate. The deal aims to carry out projects in electrification, communication and transportation sectors. In June, Myanmar and South Korea signed an agreement on bilateral investment promotion and protection during Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se’s visit to Myanmar.

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