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Ups and downs
The Burmese currency on Friday was valued at 1,100 kyat per US dollar, 1,242.4 per Euro, 825.99 per Singaporean dollar and 32.86 per Thai baht. Gold was buying at 40,152.61 kyat per gram and selling at 44,379.2 per gram.
Negotiations regarding an official minimum wage in Burma began last Sunday. A basic starting wage of 4,000 kyat (US$4) per day was suggested on the first day of the meeting between employees’ representative, international labour organisations, government officials and a parliament-appointed committee. However, a decision has not yet been reached.
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Burma opens trade office in Taiwan
Burma opened a trade office in Taipei earlier this week, despite the fact it does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In a statement by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, the ministry said it will work closely with the Myanmar Trade Office to develop mutually beneficial relations, adding that the new bureau will be responsible for promoting bilateral trade, investment, business, transportation, tourism and agriculture cooperation.
Companies vie to cash in on Burma’s tourist boom
Burma is eager to boost food and hospitality standards to serve growing demand from international tourists, who are expected to number five million in 2015, according to the Bangkok Post. Tourism is one of Burma’s fastest-growing industries, with the growth rate tripling since the country opened its doors to foreign investors in 2011.
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Burma turns to wind for growing power demand
Naypyidaw is looking to its windy, mountainous regions as a potential source of energy, reported the Nikkei Asian Review, as Burma tries lessen reliance on hydropower and fossil fuel energy sources. Foreign investors such as Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wing Systems and Chinese energy corporation Three Gorges have both expressed interest in developing large-scale wind farms in various areas around the country. Currently, hydropower is the primary source for Burma’s electricity supply.
Japan-Burma-Thailand to meet for Dawei talks
President Thein Sein is scheduled to meet with Japanese and Thai leaders in Tokyo on 4 July to discuss Japan’s cooperation in the Dawei Special Economic Zone, according to the Nekkei Asian Review. The leaders are expected to reach an agreement detailing Japan’s investment in the zone, which is to serve as a transit point for goods traded between Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. When completed, the industrial park will become one of the largest in Southeast Asia.
Chevron, Time Warner, GE among US delegation in Burma
A US business delegation comprising representatives from 15 firms including Chevron, GE and Time Warner met with officials from Burma’s Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development on Thursday with a view to expanding US interests in the country. State media said that the US delegation requested information on the investment potential in infrastructure, human resources, natural gas, health, agriculture, cinema and TV, insurance and the ICT sector.
ADB to help boost enterprise development in Burma
The Asian Development Bank (ABD) said it will help commercial banks in Burma raise their risk management capacity for lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to Myanmar Business Today. The ABD said that facilitating lending for SMEs is crucial for promoting sustainable and inclusive growth in Burma. Currently, SMEs account for more than 90 percent of companies operating in the country, and over 70 percent of employment.