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India to provide $150 million to set up SEZ in Myanmar

India has offered $150 million of credit for project exports for establishing a SEZ at Sittwe in Myanmar

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India has offered $150 million of credit for project exports to set up a SEZ in Myanmar and has expressed hope that the neighbouring country would permit Indian banks to set up branches there.

The issues came up for discussion during the three-day visit of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.

For the SEZ project, Myanmar government will provide suitable land for the purpose.

"India has offered $150 million of credit for project exports for establishing a SEZ at Sittwe in Myanmar," an official statement said.

Sharma called for greater cooperation in banking sector and appreciated the Myanmar government's approval to allow Indian banks like United Bank of India to set up a representative office in the neighbouring country.

"He expressed hope that the two public sector banks viz., Bank of India and State Bank of India, who have also expressed interest, would also be permitted to operate in Myanmar," it said, adding the Commerce Minister stressed the need for permission to open full-fledged banking services.

Even setting up a joint venture state-owned bank with India and Myanmar sharing equity would strengthen ties in banking and commerce between the countries, it said.

Besides, the minister discussed ways to increase cooperation in energy sector.

"Sharma expressed satisfaction on the progress of cooperation in this field as the renovation of the Thanlyin Refinery and the ongoing upgradation of the Thanbayakan Petrochemical Complex proceeded smoothly," it said.

Renovation of the Thanlyin Refinery was financed by $20 million line of credit signed in 2005-06. The upgradation of Thanbayakan Petrochemical Complex is being financed by another $20 million line of credit signed in 2008-09.

Several Indian companies undertaking exploratory activities in North East region of India which shares common geological traits with Myanmar are well placed to take up such activities there, the statement said.

"Myanmar has shortlisted 59 companies for submission of final bids for 18 onshore gas blocks on offer. Seven Indian companies are part of those shortlisted," it added.

State-run OVL and GAIL have announced $1.33 billion investment in China-Myanmar gas pipeline project, according to the statement.

"Phase I of 200 km Kyaukphyu-Kunming Oil & Gas pipeline worth $475 million for construction of two parallel pipelines for gas and oil has been awarded to Punj Lloyd," it said.

Both the countries also discussed revival of the discussions on the gas pipeline connection between India and Myanmar through Bangladesh.

Sharma also met Myanmar President U Thein Sein and discussed ways to enhance economic cooperation between the countries.

In 2012, the total trade between the countries stood at $1.87 billion.

In road sector, India has extended assistance for road development projects which include upgradation of the Tamu-Kalewa-Kalemyo road (about 160 kms); Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project which envisages development of road and inland waterways from Sittwe port in Myanmar to Mizoram.

"BRO has completed the resurfacing and maintenance work of 132 kms Tamu-Kyigone-Kalemyo stretch of the road and handed over to Myanmar. The remaining 11 kms of the 28 km section on the Kyigone- Kalewa stretch is also to be handed over to Myanmar after completion," the statement said.

India has also offered to help in the revival of 300 apparel factories in Myanmar.

During his meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein, Sharma offered $5 million Line of Credit for revival of these factories, it said.

The South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) will provide technical assistance to revive those factories, it said, adding a delegation comprising the experts, officials and businessmen will visit Myanmar within two weeks.

Further, it said India will cooperate with Myanmar in formulating a common compliance code for standards and also the best practices in the factories.

Sharma proposed to Myanmar President Thein Sein for a Common Compliance Code for textiles sector to enhance compliance standards in Myanmar for exports to developed countries.

For capacity building in Myanmar textiles sector, India has offered two scholarships under National Institute of Design and 250 scholarships for textile workers under Integrated Skill Development Scheme.

The statement said that during Sharma's visit substantive decisions were taken on several issues and both the sides deliberated on various sectors including SME, agriculture and telecommunication to enhance cooperation.

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First Published: Sun, June 09 2013. 15:53 IST