Myanmar and the Philippines Sign Several Trade and Investment Agreements

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Source: RapplerDec. 9 – Myanmar and the Philippines strengthened business and trade relations this month with the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) designed to foster greater economic cooperation between the two nations.

In total, six agreements were reached during President Thein Sein’s visit to the Philippines last week, ranging from renewable energy initiatives to trade and commerce pacts.

“I am convinced that this growing cooperation contributes to the progress and prosperity of the peoples of our two countries and of the region as a whole. As such, we are endeavoring to achieve peace, stability and economic development as they are the two main wishes of our people,” said President Sein during an address to the Filipino delegation.

With these goals in mind, representatives from the Departments of Trade and Industry signed an MoU on investment cooperation and trade facilitation. According to a press release issued by the Filipino embassy in Myanmar, the agreement will allow “closer cooperation in the facilitation of investments to the Philippines and Myanmar via the dissemination of investment information and consultations with the business community.”

Trade groups from both countries also signed similar agreements to strengthen cooperation between the Philippine Chambers of Commerce and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce. Both chambers expressed an interest in holding joint trade fairs and study tours to facilitate bilateral cooperation between businesses operating in Myanmar and the Philippines.

Along with these agreements, an MoU on travel was signed that will allow Filipino passport holders to travel to Myanmar for 14 days without a visa. A similar agreement exists for Myanmar nationals, who may travel to the Philippines for up to 30 days without a visa. These arrangements are hoped to increase cross-border tourism between the two countries, but will also benefit business people looking to establish trade and work relations internationally.

Several additional agreements were signed, including an agricultural framework for cooperation in food security. The agreement will promote joint venture deals in the agriculture industry and incentive investment in the sector. Renewable energy providers also received support in the form of an MoU prioritizing joint research and development initiatives between the two countries.

The trip, President Sein Thein’s first to the Philippines, represents a continued effort between the two nations to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties, a goal they plan to continue as the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations approaches in 2016.

Perhaps most importantly, both nations “agreed to continue discussions on establishing a Joint Trade Commission and concluding a Double Taxation Agreement,” according to President Aquino.

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