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  • Laos starts off as Asean chair with ministers’ retreat

    03/01/2016

    Laos kicks off its Asean chairmanship Friday with an agenda-setting foreign ministers’ retreat in Vientiane, its capital on the east bank of the Mekong River.

    Analysts say this year could be a coming of age for the “lower-middle income economy”, where poverty continues to be widespread, but which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

    Laos last chaired Asean in 2004. Its economy grew by an average of 7 per cent annually in recent years, mostly on the back of its natural resources, a construction boom in Vientiane and rising tourism.

  • China’s expanding influence in Laos

    02/29/2016

    The recently signed Joint General Scheme of Mohan–Boten Economic Cooperation Zone is the first cross-border economic cooperation zone that China has established in Laos and, for that matter, in the whole of Southeast Asia. The deal hints at the Asian giant’s goal to expand its economic ties with its southern neighbours.

  • Dawei road start faces delays

    02/28/2016

    Construction of a road linking the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar with Kanchanaburi will be delayed after Japan determined that 15-degree inclines along seven stretches of the road would be unsafe for lorries.

    Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Friday construction of the 138km road from the Dawei deep-sea port to Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi must be postponed.

    The project was due to start in March.

    The delay comes following an inspection by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

  • Dawei SEZ project sparks hopes and worries

    02/26/2016

    At present, there is only a wide road and vast fields but the area will soon be a flourishing major economic hub for neighbouring countries including Thailand and Myanmar. It is the site of the Dawei deep-sea port, the largest in the country, with a project area spanning thousands of square kilometres.

  • Eye On: Baht Beyond Borders

    02/23/2016

    With public opposition to major infrastructure projects a growing concern, and willing partners in neighboring countries eager to pick of the slack, Thailand’s industrialists are fanning out in all directions. Energy projects dominate the mix, including coal, gas and hydropower. As a result, it’s the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand driving much of the activity.

  • Myanmar expects entry of more US businesses

    02/23/2016

    Representatives of US companies have become frequent guests at the Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry these days as they explore business opportunities in the long-isolated country.

    The visits have gathered pace since the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the election and the power transition from military rule appeared to be going smoothly, Win Aung, president of the federation, said last week.

    “I strongly believe that Myanmar-US economic relations will strengthen in the next government’s term.

  • Dawei residents vow to fight special economic zone

    02/18/2016

    More than 200 representatives from Kalonehtar village in Dawei organized a spiritual ceremony last week to symbolize their ongoing protest against the mega Dawei Special Economic Zone to be built under a joint venture deal between the Thai, Maymar and Japan governments. Under the current project plan about 1,000 villagers would be resettled to pave way for a reservoir to feed the new industry complex.

    “We believe that we have the right to determine our own sustainable future on our native lands,’ they declared. “We, the Kalonehtar villagers, will not move from our native place and we will not accept any project that does not respect our right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. We do not support any part of the Dawei SEZ project.”

  • Investors buy up Dawei real estate

    02/17/2016

    The price of property in Dawei has risen beyond the reach of local residents as investors from overseas and Upper Myanmar buy up land in anticipation of a new special economic zone.

    While the zone has been eight years in the making, there are still few signs of development on the ground. However, recent announcements that construction is moving ahead, combined with escalating conflict in the north of the country, has led to a rise in real estate investment in the area, local residents said.

    Buying property in Tanintharyi Region is an “adventure for investors” they added, as township authorities have no specific land-use policies and land ownership documents are scarce. It is therefore hard to discover who owns the land, as sellers often do not transfer ownership in written form.

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