Myanmar, Indonesia to boost trade, tourism cooperation


YANGON – Entrepreneurs from Myanmar and Indonesia have met in Yangon recently to seek cooperation in boosting trade and tourism, the local Popular News reported Thursday.

“It is time to promote bilateral trade and tourism, but the two countries have no direct banking link as well as air link which play an important role in the success of boosting the sectors,” the report quoted Indonesian Ambassador Sebastranus Sumarsono as saying.

Besides, there exists weak tourism operation between Myanmar and Indonesia, the ambassador said, citing that the number of Myanmar, who visited Indonesia, stood only 2,500 in 2008.

To promote tourism between the two countries, Myanmar and Indonesian tour operators will exchange visits with Myanmar delegation programming to travel to Indonesia this month, while Indonesian’s to come to Myanmar in September and October, he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Myanmar-Indonesia bilateral trade hit 238.69 million U.S. dollars in 2008-09, of which, Myanmar’s export amounted to 28.35 million dollars, while its import took 210.34 million dollars.

Indonesia is Myanmar’s fourth largest trading partner among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Indonesia exported to Myanmar palm oil, vegetable oil, newsprint paper, chemical products, machinery and spare parts, materials in producing medicines, plastics, copper and steel, tyre and water pipe, while importing from Myanmar beans and pulses, onions and marine products.

Indonesia’s beans and pulses import from Myanmar amounted to 20,000 tons annually, according to traders.

In the absence of direct air links, the two countries have to trade through Malaysia, carrying out banking transaction through Singapore.

Indonesia stood the 9th among the Myanmar’s foreign investors, taking over 241 million dollars or 1.5 percent of the country’s foreign investment.