India Myanmar: New Trade Relations

 

Mr Anand Sharma and President U Thein Sein met in Nay Pyi Taw recently. During the meet India has offered to help in revival of 300 apparel factories in Myanmar along with US$ 5 million Line of Credit for revival of these factories. The South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) will provide technical assistance in formulation of revival plans for these factories. Private Sector companies will also play a big role in revival and building joint ventures with these closed apparel factories.
India will also cooperate with Myanmar in formulating a common compliance code for standards and also the best practices in the factories.  The Minister proposed to the Myanmar President a Common Compliance Code – DISHA MYANMAR with technical assistance from AEPC – to enhance compliance standards in Myanmar for exports to developed countries.

Sponsored by Ministry of Textiles, and helmed by AEPC DISHA is an initiative to driving industry towards sustainable human capital advancement. DISHA attempts to educate apparel exporting members on a code of ethics that covers all critical social and environmental concerns like child labour, health and industrial safety, etc. For capacity building in Myanmar textiles sector, India has offered 2 scholarships for 2 slots under National Institute of Design (NID) and 250 scholarships for textile workers under Integrated Skill Development Scheme. Scholarships have been offered in National Institute of Fashion Technology and Institute of Foreign Trade also.

India will also set up India-Myanmar Apparel Sector JVs in Thilawa SEZ in collaboration with other international brands. India will also set up a textiles trade show – Textiles Expo in Yangon for traditional textiles with Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) as lead council. Enterprise India Show in Yangon as an annual event.

Further India has also offered US$ 150 million of credit for project exports for establishing a SEZ at Sittwe in Myanmar Buyer’s Credit Scheme under National Export Insurance Account (NEIA). The offer assumes that Myanmar Government will give a suitable land for the purpose.

Talking about cooperation in banking sector Shri Sharma conveyes India’s appreciation for the Myanmar Government’s approval to allow Indian Banks like United Bank of India to set a representative office in Myanmar. He expressed the hope that the two public sector banks viz., Bank of India and State Bank of India, who have also expressed interest, would also be permitted to operate in Myanmar. Shri Sharma stressed the need for permission to open full-fledged banking services. Also, proposed for setting up a joint venture state-owned bank.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in Energy sector. Shri Sharma expressed satisfaction on the progress of cooperation in this field as the renovation of the Thanlyin Refinery and the ongoing upgradation of the Thanbayakan Petrochemical Complex proceeded smoothly. The renovation of the Thanlyin Refinery was financed by US$ 20 million LoC, signed in 2005-06. The upgradation of Thanbayakan Petrochemical Complex is being financed by another US$20 million LoC signed in 2008-09.

Indian companies are very active in oil and gas field in Myanmar. OVL and GAIL have announced US$ 1.33 billion investment in China-Myanmar gas pipeline project. Phase I of 200 km Kyaukphyu-Kunming Oil & Gas pipeline worth US$ 475 million for construction of two parallel pipelines for gas and oil has been awarded to Punj Lloyd. PSC-1 onshore block in Central Myanmar worth US$ 73 million has been awarded to Jubilant Energy India on the basis of a global tender in 2011. The two leaders also discussed revival of the discussions on the gas pipeline connection between India and Myanmar through Bangladesh.

India is involved in improving road connectivity with ASEAN country which will create new opportunities for India’s north eastern region.

India has extended assistance for road development projects which include upgradation of the Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo (TKK) road (about 160 kms); Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project which envisages development of road and inland waterways from Sittwe port in Myanmar to Mizoram; and some segments of Trilateral Highway Project (about 1360 kms) connecting Moreh (Manipur, India) to Mae Sot (Thailand) through Myanmar. These will prove of great benefit to India’s land locked North East.

BRO has completed the resurfacing and maintenance work of 132 kms Tamu-Kyigone-Kalemyo stretch of the road and handed over to Myanmar. The remaining 11 kms of the 28 km section on the Kyigone- Kalewa stretch is also to be handed over to Myanmar after completion. Indian assistance towards repair/upgradation of the 71 bridges on the Tamu-Kalewa road and the upgradation of the Kalewa-Yargyi road section of the Trilateral Highway was announced during the visit of the Prime Minister to Myanmar in May 2012. The work on the Sittwe Port of the Kaladan Project, which began in December 2010 is expected to be completed by mid 2013. The Detailed Engineering Report (DER) for the road component is expected to be finalized in 2013. A new Air Service agreement to facilitate direct air connectivity was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister in May 2012. Currently Air India is operating 3 services per week on the Kolkata Yangon Sector.

(Courtesy: PIB)

 

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