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  • What a New Vietnam-Russia Deal Says About the Mekong’s Future

    02/15/2016

    It is potentially an unusual business transaction. While the prospect of a Vietnamese company taking over a Russian group in of itself is unusual, the buyout of a strategic stake in a major fish distributor is also a reflection of changing attitudes to the management of the Mekong River.

    Food security is the priority issue dominating the political agenda surrounding the lower Mekong subregion for the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments. It’s a stark contrast to thinking in Laos, which sees the Mekong primarily through the lens of hydropower.

  • Chinese demand wiping out forests of neighboring Burma

    02/12/2016

    The streets of Pianma are lined with sawmills. They’re also lined with logs as big as cars: Teak, Rosewood, and Golden Camphor — all of them felled illegally across the border in Burma from old growth forests and brought to the Chinese side to be cut down into furniture.

  • China’s Belt and Road initiative ripe with possibilities

    02/11/2016

    FOLLOWING THE launch of its ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road) initiative in a big way, China followed it up with last month’s official inauguration of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is now operational.

  • US State Department Must Renew and Strengthen Reporting Requirements for Companies Investing in Myanmar

    02/11/2016

    EarthRights International (ERI) urged the State Department to renew and strengthen the Reporting Requirements for Responsible Investment in Burma (Myanmar), which require U.S. companies making significant new investment in Myanmar to report on their operations and explain their due diligence policies and procedures on human rights, the environment, corruption, and labor. New investors are also required to provide information on their land acquisitions and disclose payments to the government and contacts with the military and other armed groups. In a submission to the State Department as part of the U.S. Government’s review of the Reporting Requirements, ERI reiterated the importance of ensuring that new U.S. investment in Myanmar does not undermine the reform process.

  • Section 44 to clear way for setting up new Special Economic Zones, and possible new Biomass Power Plant without EIA

    02/11/2016

    General Prayut Chan-o-Cha, leader of the National Council for Peace and Order used authority under section 44 declared 2 NCPO orders on January 20. The first one is on the exception on the enforcement of city plans in some project types 1) power plant 2) power plant gas that do not use natural gas for delivery or disposal 3) factory that improve overall quality of products ( sewage treatment plant/incinerator) 4) factory for sorting and landfill 5) factory for recycling. Another NCPO order was to exclude the application of the city planning and building control laws in the area of special economic development zone. This also includes various local ordinances which are the limitations of the ban on construction, modification, decommissioning, moving and using, or changing the use of buildings.

  • Faces of Dawei, Faces of Change

    02/07/2016

    Dawei is a seaside community of less than 5,000 families, in one of the world’s least developed corners. Myanmar’s ever widening borders, however, have lured investments here on a scale beyond anything ever conceived within Southeast Asia.

    The Dawei Special Economic Zone environs nearly 200 square kilometers of industrial development, a deepsea port and associated road, rail and pipeline links to neighboring Thailand and beyond.

    Photojournalist Taylor Weidman captures the faces of Dawei as they they contemplate what lies ahead. Will their fisheries and betel nut farms still provide viable livelihoods? Will new jobs actually be available to them and their children or largely to higher skilled prospects from abroad? Will environmental controls be sufficient and sufficiently enforcement to protect the community, and the natural resources that now sustain it?

  • Risks loom for Myanmar’s Kyaukphyu Economic Zone

    02/03/2016

    The end of 2015 saw a series of major announcements and decisions regarding Myanmar’s latest special economic zone (SEZ) in Kyaukphyu township of Rakhine State. In late December, Myanmar’s government approved the demarcation of land for the SEZ and awarded tenders to develop the SEZ to a CITIC Group-led consortium.

  • With AIIB, Nation Diversifies Funding Options

    02/02/2016

    Though it’s extremely early days, experts this week welcomed Cambodia’s membership to the nascent China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), saying it would provide much-needed diversity of funding for the nation’s infrastructure and connectivity needs.

    Launched in Beijing last weekend, the multilateral development bank aims to support infrastructure growth in the Asia-Pacific region through the provision of loans, and supports China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative to boost trade and connectivity across the Eurasian landmass.

  • Revenue from Hongsa power plant set to spur development

    01/11/2016

    The government will receive over US$2.3 billion in taxes from the Hongsa Power Company Limited under the 25 year concession agreement running from 2016-2041 for the newly built Hongsa Mine Mouth Power Plant. This revenue will be a huge boost to socio-economic development, especially infrastructure development, and will enable the expansion of trade, services and investment.

    This revenue will be a huge boost to socio-economic development, especially infrastructure development, and will enable the expansion of trade, services and investment.

  • Japan raises stake in Dawei project

    01/08/2016

    The Thai Cabinet today approved the proposed increase in Japan’s stake in the Dawei development project to 33.33 per cent. Under the Finance Ministry’s proposal, the stakes of Thailand and Myanmar will fall from 50:50 to 33.33 per cent. The investment remains capped at Bt100 million per each country.

    Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Officer, said that the change followed Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak’s visit to Japan.

    Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the three parties would meet on December 14 with the high-level working group and Dawei Development Co Ltd’s representatives.

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