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China, Myanmar Sign Economic, Trade Agreements
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China and Myanmar signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation on Thursday to further push the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.


The agreement was endorsed by Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Guan Mu and Myanmar Deputy Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Colonel Thurein Zaw.


Visiting Assistant Minister of Commerce of China Chen Jian and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Thu of Myanmar also signed the minutes of the second consultation meeting between the governments of China and Myanmar on cooperation in trade, timber and mining.


Chen arrived Monday and had open, frank and friendly discussions with U Kyaw Thu over expanding Sino-Myanmar economic and trade cooperation including timber and mining cooperation in the border areas and reached common view in a wide range of areas.


During the meeting with Kyaw Thu, Chen said that China and Myanmar should look forward to the future based on the present and jointly develop on mutually beneficial basis, adding that the cooperation between the two countries should touch on sectors including investment, economy, technology and tourism.


Kyaw Thu said that Myanmar welcomed Chinese enterprises to launch cooperation in sectors such as timber and mining, while thanking China for its efforts to help Myanmar eliminate narcotic drugs and grow opium-poppy-substitute crops.


The two sides agreed to jointly work out three cooperation master plans on timber, mining and agriculture, emphasizing their important significance in boosting the level of economic and trade cooperation and bilateral ties.


The two sides also agreed to conduct study and initiate more cooperation master plans in the sectors of energy, industry and infrastructure after working out the timber, mining and agriculture master plans.


At the signing ceremony Thursday, other documents including that on Chinese government's exemption of Myanmar government's partial debt and a framework agreement on provision of preferential loan to Myanmar were also inked.


According to Chinese official statistics, China-Myanmar bilateral trade hit US$1.209 billion in 2005, up 5.6 percent from 2004. Of the total, China's exports to Myanmar took US$935 million, while its import from Myanmar stood US$274 million.


Latest figures of the Chinese Customs Department indicate that China-Myanmar bilateral trade in the first half of 2006 amounted to US$662 million, a 10.8-percent rise compared with the same period of 2005. Of the total, China's export to Myanmar took US$549 million, up 30.5 percent, while China's import from Myanmar US$114 million, down 35.9 percent.


The two countries have set a target for their annual bilateral trade to increase to US$1.5 billion.


(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2006)


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