Jul 8, 2013

Myanmar-South Korea economic cooperation warms up

The Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation of Myanmar and South Korea recently met in Nay Pyi Taw, during which the Korean government agreed to provide $500 million' loan to Myanmar for the year 2013 to 2017 from its Economic Development Cooperation Funds.

The offer was made during a visit to Myanmar by Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Oh-seok.

The joint committee discussed eight areas of cooperation covering 39 projects inclusive of those related with infrastructure development, promoting of services and sports sectors.

Thanking Korea for its support, Myanmar President U Thein Sein told Hyun that the outcome of it would contribute to Myanmar's reform process.

The president extended an invitation to his Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye through Hyun to visit Myanmar.

As part of the two countries' economic activities between private sectors, Long Luck Group of Companies of Myanmar and HANBAEK ITC Co., Ltd of South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation in May ranging from manufacturing to energy projects.

Under the supervision of Myanmar Foodstuff Manufacturers Association, the Myanmar Foodstuff Exhibition 2013 was held in Yangon involving 76 Korean companies.

In the IT sector, South Korea launched an information access center (IAC) in Nay Pyi Taw in order to support the country's ICT development and infrastructure development for introduction of an e-government system.

The IAC, the first of its kind in the country, was established at the General Post Office in Nay Pyi Taw by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security of South Korea with the assistance of the South Korean government.

The South Korean government contributed to formulation of ICT Development Master Plans (2005-2010) and (2011-2015).

In the transport sector, the South Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is helping Myanmar develop road network.

Under an agreement between KOICA and the public works department of Myanmar's Ministry of Construction, a master plan is being drafted for the development of the road network and technical assistance worth of 4 million US dollars is to be provided by KOICA.

KOICA also pledged $2.3 million for the fourth phase of a dry zone project for the greening of central Myanmar.

The project, including reforestation and water access, will be implemented in Nyaung Oo township in the Mandalay region.

An agreement will be signed between the two governments soon.

KOICA will also provide five other projects with Myanmar Development Institute, including a land reform scheme to introduce mechanized farming, a master plan for arterial road network development, strengthening the statistical system and strengthening capacity for convention management.

In the latest development, the South Korean government is planning to build a friendship bridge crossing the Yangon River to link urban Yangon with Dala from where nearly 50,000 workers cross the Yangon River everyday by ferry boats to work in urban Yangon as there is never a bridge between the two river banks.

Along with the building of the bridge, an industrial park is also planned in Dala where there is plenty of land and work force to enable South Korean companies to make investment in the industrial park.

Official statistics show that South Korean investment in Myanmar amounted to $2.979 billion in 77 projects as of March 2013, accounting for merely 7.07 percent of the total foreign input since Myanmar opened to overseas investment in late 1988 and ranking the fourth in the country's foreign investment line-up.

Bilateral trade between Myanmar and South Korea reached $573.4 million in 2012, of which Myanmar's export accounted for $237.58 million while its import stood at $335.82 million.

Source: Xinhua