But instability and unreliability are its downfall
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Thai businesses are very keen to invest in Myanmar, but
are wary of risks and possible financial losses because of its internal
politics. That is the assessment of Chavaphan Chavacharoenphan, adviser to
the Tak Chamber of Commerce.
Reporting on Thai-Burmese trade, Chavaphan reported
Thailand has been showing a trade deficit both last year and in the first
part of this year. For the whole of last year, the Thai export figure was 12
billion baht, while imports from Myanmar were worth 45 billion baht. The
deficit appears now to be increasing.
Chavaphan was guest speaker at a seminar on "Economy
and Investment in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region" organized by the
Faculty of Economy. He noted that Myanmar has an abundance of natural
resources, especially natural gas, timber, coal and metals.
Thailand exported mainly consumer products, such as fat
and oil extracts, steel, chemical products, cement, construction raw
materials, fuel, rubber, electric appliances, slippers and clothes.
Border trade with Myanmar at the Mae Sot checkpoint is
greater than at Prachuab Khirikhan. The trade at Tak was also better than at
the Mae Sai checkpoint, Chiang Rai, and the border crossing in Ranong
"The problems or obstacles for border trade between
Thailand and Myanmar include national security and instability caused by the
latter’s internal politics leading to the closure of border checkpoints,
Myanmar’s financial and banking systems, alien laborers, illegal
immigrants, and the instability of its currency," Chavaphan said.
He added that Thailand and Myanmar had initiated the
so-called Road Map project, but Myanmar still does not trust Thai investors
or display good cooperation with Thais.
"However, Myanmar’s strength is its export, import
and border trades with other countries. It is rich in natural resources and
can be used as a gateway for Thailand to help transfer products and exports
to third countries, as well as being a production base for Thai exports in
the near future," he said.
"But Myanmar has not kept to its promises and
agreements, resulting in slow progress of investment projects run by
countries such as the USA, China and England. They have suffered under the
Burmese government’s rules and regulations that detrimentally affect their
Smooth auto service the promise
The first Castrol auto service center in the North has
opened in Chiang Mai. Sakulchai auto service center on the Super Highway was
officially opened on June 24. Mike Johnson, chairman of Castrol in the
Asia-Pacific area flew from Singapore to be present and was welcomed by
Chaiwut Yingluksakulchai, manager of the new center.
Johnson, chairman of Castrol in the Asia-Pacific area, sounds the gong to
open the first Castrol auto service center in Chiang Mai.
The chain plans to establish at least 160 centers
countrywide this year, supported by its Asia-Pacific headquarters. The first
outlet was in Bangkok, and now the company is spreading out into the
Castrol describe their auto service centers as innovative
outlets for vehicle repairs and maintenance, with every outlet meeting the
same high corporate standard of operation.
Only professional certificated mechanics are employed,
and each outlet is attractive with modern decor and a clean environment.