07/17/2009, 00.00
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Myanmar: despite sanctions, a growth in investment. China has 87% of the market

In the past fiscal year foreign investment in the former Burma hit almost one billion U.S. dollars. Six times greater than the year 2007 to 2008. The increase due to massive investment by Beijing, which continues to deal with the dictatorship in spite of sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Foreign investment in Myanmar has reached one billion dollars in the last fiscal year, six times higher than 2007 to 2008. Underlying this massive increase in investment is China, which has acquired a majority share of the market.


According to the Ministry for National Planning and Development, foreign investment has risen from 172 million U.S. dollars in 2007 - 2008, to the current 984.9 million. The report released yesterday points out that 87% of deals are signed with Chinese businesses or companies. Russia and Vietnam have invested in oil and natural gas, with a turnover amounting to 114 million dollars. Thailand focuses on the tourism and hospitality sector and has invested about 15 million dollars in its neighbour.

The data published by the Burmese Ministry reveal two significant points: first the sanctions imposed by the international community do not affect the ruling military junta in Myanmar. Indeed, it benefits from the foreign capital from countries that do not respect the economic and trade sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union, for the junta’s repeated violations of human rights. Then there is a further confirmation of the Chinese government policy which - in the name of economic growth and the principle of "non-interference" – trades without hesitation with regimes and dictatorships. In addition to Myanmar, there are Iran, Sudan and Venezuela.

The Burmese subsoil is rich in reserves of oil and gas, which together with wood and precious stones are the principal resources of the local economy. Chinese investment focuses in particular on energy and natural resources.

Despite the increase in the volume of business, nearly all of the Burmese people are living in extreme poverty and only the capital Naypydaw - wanted by the generals in a virtually inaccessible area - has electricity and energy supplies. Even the former capital Yangon lacks electricity for several hours of the day.

To meet energy demands the junta has signed a deal for the supply of 300 megawatts of electricity from Ruili, a town near the Chinese border with Myanmar. It - says the Mizzima News website – will serve to supply the industrial area of Mandalay, for the production of cars and trucks.

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