Special Report – Belt and Road

Myanmar brings China and Asean closer together

Business and industry experts warn that poor infrastructure in Myanmar will impede progress on China’s huge trade initiative

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2017, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2017, 4:31pm

Business and industry experts told delegates attending the HKTDC Belt and Road Summit at the Exhibition Centre this month that Myanmar is well-placed to form the hub that connects the large-scale Chinese trade initiative to Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the rest of Asia.

But, they say the lack of infrastructure will impede this progress.

Recognising that the initiative would improve Myanmar’s transport and logistics sectors, China and Myanmar sought an agreement to ensure participation in facilitating and promoting construction projects in the Southeast Asian nation.

China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and International Chapter (CRECCHKI) and the Myanmar Licensed Contractors Association (MLCA) signed a Co-operation Memorandum of Understanding on the same day as the summit.

The move should help to strengthen relations between the organisations in real estate and construction through visits and participation in events and activities in both regions, and should give Myanmar greater exposure to the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

CRECCHKI chairman Ivan Ko and MLCA chairman U Kyaw Win said during the ceremony that the agreement aims to “facilitate the development and exchange of knowledge, skill and practices of the real estate and construction industry between Myanmar, mainland China and Hong Kong” according to industry standards.

In the days following the summit, Carrie Lam became Hong Kong’s first standing chief executive to visit Myanmar since the 1997 establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

During the trip, she said that strengthening ties with Asean members would be one of her priorities.

This was consistent with her opening statement at the summit: “… the [Asean] region’s emerging economies are seen as future drivers of the regional and global economy” and “will continue to be a focal point for the Belt and Road [Initiative]”.