Myanmar is linked to China by mountains and sea, and “Pauk-phaw” runs deep. In recent years, cooperation between Myanmar and China is improving in scale, scope and level, with broad prospects for cooperation. According to the data by the Ministry of Commerce of China, the bilateral trade volume between Myanmar and China in 2018 reached US$15.24 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13.1%. China is now Myanmar’s largest trading country and the largest source of investment. As a “booster” to the sustained and rapid development of China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation, China-ASEAN Expo plays a positive role in promoting the friendly Myanmar-China cooperation and the implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative.
1. Gather and contribute to theChina-ASEAN Expo
Under the active promotion of Myanmar and China, the areas of bilateral cooperation have expanded from trade and economic aid to project contracting, investment and multilateral cooperation. The bilateral economic and trade cooperation has made great strides, and the trade volume is mounting year by year. China chiefly imports logs, sawn timber, agricultural products, mineral products, etc. from Myanmar. To scale up imports from Myanmar, China twice announced that it would unilaterally provide preferential tariff treatment for Myanmar’s exports 220 types of products to China.
Myanmar-China relations are further promoted following the establishment of the new government of Myanmar. The bilateral relations see good development trend, with frequent high-level exchanges and enhanced bilateral political mutual trust. Myanmar is an important fulcrum country for the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. In May 2017, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in China. During the period, Myanmar and China signed five memorandums of understanding including the establishment of a border economic cooperation zone.
The Myanmar government also attaches great importance to fostering friendly cooperation with China through China-ASEAN Expo. The Myanmar leaders led high-level delegations to attend the China-ASEAN Expo many times, exchanged views with leaders of China and other ASEAN countries, and reached consensus on high-level cooperation in many fields to the benefit of enterprises and the public. Vice President U Nyan Tun attended the 11th China-ASEAN Expo, Vice President Sai Mauk Kham attended the 12th China-ASEAN Expo, and the First Vice President U Myint Swe attended the 13th and 15th China-ASEAN Expo.
Myanmar at the 15th CAEXPO.
The Myanmar Chamber of Commerce also attaches great importance to the China-ASEAN Expo. Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Myanmar Marine Fisheries Association, Myanmar Industries Association, Myanmar Forest Products Merchants Federation, Myanmar Agricultural Products Export and Processing Association, Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association, and other associations have participated in the expo as a delegation for many years.
Since the 1st China-ASEAN Expo, 1,419 exhibitors from Myanmar used a total of 1,670 booths, mainly exhibiting special products and services including jewelry and jade, handicrafts, tea, food and agricultural products, and image of business associations. Myanmar served as the theme country of the 8th China-ASEAN Expo.
At the 15th China-ASEAN Expo, the City of Charm of Myanmar is Hpa-an. In addition to the traditional featured products, a wealth of orders was placed for Myanmar’s tea, mango, cashew and other agricultural products at the expos. Mango, cashew and other agricultural products begin to enter the Chinese market, bringing lucrative profits to enterprises.
Myanmar at the 15th CAEXPO.
Handicrafts, wood furniture and other quality goods with Myanmar features are favored by Chinese merchants. During the expo, the Myanmar Council for Trade Promotion held the “Natural Myanmar” Promotion Conference. Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe attended the expo, becoming the highest-ranking guest at the Myanmar national promotion conference in the past 15 years. Over 200 guests and professional visitors attended investment promotion conference for Myanmar coffee, fisheries, jewelry and jade, etc. Myanmar and China have achieved positive results in trade matchmaking. The Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association and Guangdong Jade and Jewelry Institute signed a strategic cooperation agreement regarding the jewelry industry. The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association and Guangxi Economic and Trade Vocational Institute signed an industry technical training cooperation agreement; Malaysia Indospice placed an order for 5 tons of peppers from Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association.
Myanmar exhibitor Wam Na Yin, who has been an exhibitor for three consecutive years, said that he participated in the China-ASEAN Expo to find suitable partners and enter the markets of China and other ASEAN countries. “Now many agents express interest in our Myanmar-style milk tea. Thanks very much to the China-ASEAN Expo!” said Wam Na Yin.
2.Discussion at China-ASEAN Expo for win-win cooperation
The 16th China-ASEAN Expo is slated to be held in Nanning, China from September 21-24, 2019, and continues to serve as an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries such as Myanmar.
At this year’s China-ASEAN Expo, Myanmar will independently use 169 booths at D14 exhibition hall at Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, with a focus on products and services such as jewelry and jade, handicrafts, tea, food and agricultural products, and the image of business associations; the City of Charm is Magway, which is expected to have an exhibition area of 180 square meters.
Under the theme of “Co-building the Belt and Road and Jointly Drawing the Vision of Cooperation”, this year’s China-ASEAN Expo offers many highlights. In addition to the meetings for leaders and the opening ceremony, high-end coordination events for governments and business community will be held. The Myanmar business community will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the government leaders and secure high-quality information.
China-ASEAN Expo is based on and has served the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area for 15 years. Being open to the world, it is committed to promoting economic and trade contacts between the countries along the Belt and Road and the economies in the free trade area, creating new opportunities for mutual benefit and common prosperity for all concerned. It has evolved into an expo that is most popular in the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area with the most extensive participation by ASEAN companies.
This year marks the first year of the “China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030” and the China-ASEAN Media Exchange Year. It is also the first year when the Belt and Road Initiative takes the first concrete step. New opportunities exist in the new starting point. Myanmar and China will meet at the expo to inaugurate a new period of cooperation!