Daily News- April 08- 2002- Monday

  • Thai firms unaffected by new restriction in Burma
  • M'sia Can Expect Larger Enrolment Of Myanmar Students
  • Myanmar monks arrested in Thailand could be spies
  • Myanmar Produces Less Cotton Yarn in 2001

  • Thai firms unaffected by new restriction in Burma

    Supamart Kasem
    The Bangkokpost

    Thai companies will be affected only slightly by Burma's decision to suspend the permits of foreign trading companies indefinitely, local traders said.Companies from South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Britain would be affected most, said Niyom Vairachapanich, chairman of the border trade committee of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

    ``A few Thai firms set up importing companies in Burma, but not like those running big businesses such as automobiles and department stores,'' he said. ``Most transactions along the border between Thais and Burmese involve everyday consumer products.''

    Burma introduced the restriction, saying it was necessary to protect local companies at a time when the country's currency, the kyat, is plummeting in value.Colonel Kyaw Thein, a senior intelligence officer, said that as of January, permits were not being renewed. All permits were suspended by the end of last month.

    The move affected about 100 companies, all of which were previously required to renew their permits every two years.An executive at Thailand's Loxley Plc said the company had closed its trading operation in Burma two years because business was sluggish.

    The kyat is hovering around 800 to the US dollar on the black market, causing the prices of imported goods to rocket. The official rate is seven kyat to the dollar.

    Panithi Tangpati, the chairman of the Tak Provincial Chamber of Commerce said Burma usually introduced tough measures when there were economic troubles.Mae Sot's Customs Office reported that Thailand exported 1.34 billion baht worth of goods to Burma in the first quarter this year, up from 591 million in the same period last year. Imports from Burma totalled 238 million baht, down from 350 million.

    M'sia Can Expect Larger Enrolment Of Myanmar Students

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia can expect more Myanmar students to enrol in local private tertiary institutions here following last week's roadshow by Taylor's College in Yangon, the Malaysian ambassador-designate to Myanmar Datuk Cheah Sam Kip said.

    In a statement released to Bernama from Yangon, Cheah said that Myanmar was in fact one of the top five countries sending its students to Taylor's College. According to Cheah, Taylor's College currently has more than 600 international students at its campuses.

    Last week, Cheah opened the Taylor's College education fair in Yangon. Also present at the opening ceremony were the Myanmar Director General of Education, U Tin NyO (rpt:U Tin NyO) and the college principal and chief operating officer, Anucia Jeganathan.

    Cheah expressed confidence that such an initiative by Taylor's College would create new opportunities for educational cooperation between Malaysia and Myanmar. "I hope to see more Myanmar students studying in Malaysia as this will contribute to greater understanding and friendship between the two countries," Cheah added.

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    Myanmar monks arrested in Thailand could be spies

    BANGKOK, April 6 (AFP) - Several illegal immigrant monks from Myanmar recently rounded up by Thai authorities are suspected of being spies, reports said Saturday.

    Sources at Thailand's immigration bureau warned of a national security threat brought on by the "high number of illegal immigrants that have been ordained as monks", the Bangkok Post said. "They include Burmese spies seeking to gather information on the movements of ethnic rebels," the source was quoted as saying.

    Nine people, including four ordained monks and four novices from Myanmar's Mon ethnic community, as well as another foreign monk of unkown nationality, were arrested Friday and charged with illegal entry, the daily reported.

    Four Thai monks were arrested in the capital for illegally soliciting donations, while two other Thais, including a 72-year-old-man, were charged with impersonating monks, the paper said.The suspects were arrested in separate raids launched by police and monastic inspectors in a crackdown on "wayward and bogus monks", it added.

    The commander of the crime suppression division, Major General Surasit Sangkhapong, told the Nation newspaper that the Myanmar detainees would be deported.Tensions between Bangkok and Yangon have escalated in recent weeks over fatal clashes between Thai army troops and ethnic rebel fighters from Myanmar, illegal immigration, and the massive drug trade along the Thai-Myanmar border.

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    Myanmar Produces Less Cotton Yarn in 2001

    YANGON, April 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar produced 5,551.61 tons of cotton yarn in the year of 2001, a 2.61-percent drop from 2000, according to the latest data released by the country's Central Statistical Organization.

    During the year, Myanmar also yielded over 20.91 million metersof cotton fabrics, down 5.38 percent from 2000. Cotton is one of the four major crops of Myanmar with the otherthree known as paddy, beans and pulses, and sugar cane.

    Official statistics show that altogether 325,215 hectares of cotton were cultivated in Myanmar in the fiscal year 2000-01 and the figures for 2001-02, just ended in March, are yet to be disclosed. Myanmar's textile industry can at present meet only 13 percent and 9 percent of the nation's yarn and cloth demands respectively.

    The demand for Myanmar's 52-million population is 1.7 kilogramsfor cotton yarn and 14.62 meters for cloth per capita per year, while the country requires 88,400 tons of cotton yarn and about 760.24 million meters of cloth.

    To meet the demand, the government has agreed with two Chinese companies to build three textile plants in central Myanmar, the first of which will start running in 2002. To supply enough cotton to the factories, the government has designated as a special cotton belt the area from Thayet on the west bank of the Ayeyawaddy river in southwestern Magway division to Salingyi on the west bank of the Chindwin River in northwesternSagaing division, in which 262,440 hectares of land will be put under cotton.

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