Myanmar hopes to hike trade with Vietnam 200% by 2015
HANOI MYANMAR President Thein Sein pledged to increase trade with Vietnam 200 per cent to 500 million dollars by 2015 during a two-day visit to the country, the Vietnamese government said on Wednesday.
Thein Sein said he hoped Vietnam would share its development experience with Myanmar, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Myanmar is one of Asia’s poorest countries after years of economic mismanagement by the military while Vietnam is a communist country that introduced market reforms in 1986 and became one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Thein Sein met his Vietnamese counterpart, Truong Tan Sang, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during his visit, which started on Tuesday. Talks were held behind closed doors.
Thein Sein told Dung that Myanmar would create good conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in Myanmar, especially in agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, oil and gas, and hotels, the ministry said.
The former general took office in March 2011 as head of a civilian, albeit pro-military, government after Myanmar’s first elections in 20 years.
He has gained a reputation as a reformer with the freeing of political prisoners, signing of ceasefires with ethnic minority rebel groups and the easing of restrictions on the media, resulting in the relaxation of some sanctions by the international community.
Two-way trade and investment has grown steadily since Vietnam and Myanmar established diplomatic ties in 1975 with trade reaching more than 167 million dollars in 2011, up 9.8 per cent from 2010.
The trip was Thein Sein’s first official visit to Vietnam since becoming president. He is to travel to Cambodia on Wednesday and Laos on Thursday.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said Vietnam should follow Myanmar’s example in driving reform and releasing political prisoners.