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Chinese goods flood border market


The Telegraph (20th May)

>From Oinam Sunil

Imphal,    May  19:   Chinese   goods  still  dominate  the
Myanmarese  markets  despite  the  opening  of Indo-Myanmar
border  trade on  April 12,1995.   Pro-democracy Myanmarese
students  have  criticised the  Yangon military  regime for
allowing  China to capture the  country's economy.  The All
Burma  Students  League  (ABSL),  a  pro-democracy  student
group,    which  fled  Myanmar   after  the  1988  military
crackdown,   said instead  of expanding  Myanmar's economic
infrastructure,   the  Yangon military  junta has  made the
country a dumping ground for Chinese goods.

The  fact that Chinese goods have flooded Myanmar market is
evident  from  the goods  sold at  Moreh and  its adjoining
Myanmarese town,  Tamu.  Myanmarese students here fear that
the  present situation might prove costly for their country
in  the long  run.  Myanmar  first signed  its border trade
agreement  with China in 1985 during the Gen.Ne Win regime.
The  agreement,  however,   was implemented  in 1989.  ABSL
sources  said  China has  set  up an  economic intelligence
netword at Myanmar, with major agencies at Lashio, Mandalay
and Yangon.

The  Myanmarese  State  Law and  Order  Restoration Council
(SLORC)  also constituted a committee  for the promotion of
Sino-Myanmarese   trade   relations  in   1996   under  the
chairmanship  of  Lt.Gen.Khin  Nyunt.   According  to  pro-
democracy Myanmarese activists,  cross border trade between
the two country amounted to $6 billion,  excluding military
and infrastructure.

China   is   investing   huge   amounts   in  infrastructre
development  of Myanmar.   It even  includes upgradation of
sea  ports.  After  the formal opening  of the Indo-Myanmar
border  trade in 1995,   the Indian side  has also taken up
certain   infrastructure  projects  in   Myanmar  like  the
Tamu-Kalemyo  highway.  Despite  these initiatives,  border
trade  has  not been  able to  flourish  as both  India and
Myanmar  could  not finalise  the currency  exchange rates.

Most  of the  infrastructure projects have  been awarded to
Chinese  contractors and companies with Chinese supervision
include   the  Yangon-Mandalay   highway  and   rail  link,
Myitkyina-Mandalay rail link, Mandalay and Pegu
international airport and several bridges over Irrawady and
Chindwin rivers.

ABSL  sources said the Chinese province of Yunan has become
a  springboard for  major projects  in Myanmar.   While the
SLORC has opened a consulate at Kumming in Yunan, China has
set up a consulate in Mandalay to oversee the cross-country
projects. Myanmarese students have charged the Chinese with
supplying   huge  amounts  of  military  equipment  to  the
military  junta.   An ABSL  report said  Myanmar's military
junta  has bought  equipment worth 400  million pounds from

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