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Burma and the Philippines pledge increased trade and investment

Burmese President Thein Sein and a delegation of 10 representatives concluded a three-day visit to Manila on Friday, after penning six agreements with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the presidential palace.

Thein Sein was accompanied by eight Union Ministers, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hla Htay Win and Burma’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Ye Myint Aung.

The meeting culminated in the signing of six new agreements: a 14-day visa free entry into Burma for Filipino passport holders; four cooperation accords for food security, renewable energy development, information sharing, increased trade and investment; and a business contact-sharing agreement between their respective chambers of commerce.

Thein Sein and Aquino delivered a press briefing following the meeting where Aquino expressed his gratitude for Burma’s emergency aid in the wake of the Bohol earthquake in mid-October and typhoon Yolanda in early November.

Thein Sein likewise thanked Aquino for supporting Burma’s nascent democracy and encouraged continued partnership in the form of skill sharing, journalist exchange visits and business investment.

“As you all know, we have lagged behind in terms of development compared to other ASEAN member states, as economic sanctions were imposed against Myanmar [Burma] for nearly two decades,” Thein Sein said at the press briefing. “Myanmar offers ample investment opportunities. As such, I have proposed that President Aquino urge Filipino investors and businessmen to come and invest in Myanmar.”

Though the visit, Thein Sein’s first to the Philippines, was focused on increasing financial aid and cooperation between the two countries towards developing Burma’s hindered economy, Thein Sein handed over a donation US$50,000 for earthquake recovery, as well as US$100,000 and 7 tons of food aid for relief efforts following the deadly storm that devastated parts of the central Philippines last month.

“President Thein Sein’s visit is a testament to our desire to learn more from each other and advance our cooperation in various fields,” said President Aquino.



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