Friday, September 28, 2012

Thailand to finance road to Myawaddy

Friday, 28 September 2012 15:29 Mizzima News    

Thailand will grant financial aid to build a 76-kilometre road from Mae Sot, Thailand, to Myawaddy-Kawkareik in Burma, to promote the area’s economy.

Myawaddy is across the Moei River from Mae Sot, Thailand. The Friendship Bridge, in the background, connects Thailand and Burma. Photo: AFP

The road would serve as a link from Thailand to India through Burma, Thai officials said.

Addressing the Asia Society in New York on Thursday, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck said Burma has Thailand’s support in its move toward democracy.

She said the Thai government would also work closely with Burma to tackle refugee problems.

The Mae Sot-Myawaddy border trade checkpoint on the Burma-Thailand border took in around US $277 million in the first quarter of 2012 because of improved economic and social conditions in Burma, officials said. The quarter marked the first trade figures since the checkpoint was reopened in December 2011 after being closed more than one year.

In March, Mizzima reported that Pongthep Buathap, the chief immigration officer at Thailand's Mae Sot cross-border checkpoint, said trade has shown steady growth in recent months. Continuous growth resumed this year due to improvements in Burmese domestic politics, he said. The two most important products were fuel and commodities, he said.

Mizzima reported last year that construction would also begin on a second bridge linking Mae Sot and Myawaddy.

 “Trucks will use this bridge, and they won’t have to go through Myawaddy to reach the trade zone,” a Thai official said.

Authorities said that the current Friendship Bridge is weak and only pedestrians will be allowed to cross on it.

The existing Friendship Bridge was built in 1997. In 2005, the bridge became weak due to water erosion. Many traders now use motorboats to transport goods between Mae Sot and Myawaddy.

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