Burma Business Roundup (Friday, February 17)
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Burma Business Roundup (Friday, February 17)


By WILLIAM BOOT / THE IRRAWADDY Friday, February 17, 2012


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‘End US Dollar Ban on Burma,’ Urges Former British Ambassador

The end of Western economic sanctions against Burma is in sight, and not before time, says a former British government ambassador to Thailand and Vietnam.

Some sanctions have had little effect apart from hurting Burma’s poorest, in the view of Derek Tonkin, but one in particular is still damaging the entire economy—Washington's block on the use by Burma of US dollars for trade.

“It needs to be eased as soon as possible so that aid, trade and investment flows can be facilitated,” said Tonkin, who is chairman of the NGO Network Myanmar.

“It is indiscriminate in its targeting and impacts the entire economy. It also acts as a serious inhibiting factor for European financial institutions which need to be so wary of not breaching US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations,” he said.

In a statement this week, Tonkin describes the other remaining Western sanctions as a “motley collection” which “provides scarcely any leverage in the Western endeavor to promote democratic reform.”

Asean Chief Fears Burma Boom Will Bring Exploitation

Sudden economic growth in Burma fueled by foreign investment could trigger a rise in poverty and exploitation, the chief of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) fears.

Speaking on the eve of a visit to Burma, Asean’s Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said: “We have to ensure that there is a human face to the management of the country’s resources and opportunities. The entrepreneurial spirit must not overshadow the need for schools, hospitals, utilities, clean water and so on.”

Surin, a former Thai government minister, is due to visit Burma in February to assess its readiness to take over the Asean chairmanship in 2014.

“I’m worried about all these people who are already gathering in Bangkok and Singapore and who are bent on exploiting Myanmar’s [Burma’s] resources and opportunities,” Surin was quoted by the Myanmar Times as saying.



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Sai Lang Kham Wrote:
18/02/2012
On a trip to Yangon earlier this month it was evident that the spivs and sharks were gathering.... a clear case of (to misquote JFK) 'Ask not what you can do for Burma but what Burma can do for you'.

A singularly unpleasant Australian, working for the UN, was only interested in doubling his salary. To that end he proposed to write a PhD thesis on Burma, about which he knew nothing... zilch. He assured me there had never been a Burmese Secretary General of the UN; this from an employee. He couldn't name a single member of the government and had never heard of Panglong.

The country can well do without such people and the business sharks are even worse. Development needs to be responsible, sensitive and not too rapid.

Ohn Wrote:
18/02/2012
Surin,

Dear, oh dear, you let the genie out. Now grab a whisky or red wine or whatever you Buddhists drink and enjoy the show.

The fun is five years from now there will be Thai/ German/ Dutch speaking real Burmese prostitutes in Mandalay and Kyauk Phyu.

Enjoy the show.

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