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Trade Fair Marks Drive Toward Cross-Border Commerce

In a move to promote trade relations between Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, Kanchanaburi District Governor Mr. Chaiwat Leamwanmaphat officially opened a trade fair on the Thai side of the border town of Three Pagodas Pass earlier today.

Thai and Myanmar authorities in a group in the Trade Fairs Ceremony

The trade fair showcased about 80 stalls selling local Thai products, and received hundreds of visitors including many Burmese migrant workers. The Governor also invited authorities from Phya Thonesu on the Burma side of Three Pagodas Pass.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Governor Chaiwat said, “In Kanchanaburi province, we have two main border points. The first is in Puu Nam Rong, which can be used to reach the town of Dawei, and the second point is here in Three Pagodas Pass. Although the government intends to set up a temporary border crossing in Puu Nam Rong village to travel to Dawei, we are not abandoning the Three Pagodas Pass border area.”

Mr. Chaiwat pointed out that Kanchanaburi province has Thailand’s longest border with Burma (Myanmar), about 300 kilometers, and is an important region for cultivating border commerce and bilateral trade relationships. He said the Thai government is attempting to officially open the border to promote trade, tourism, industry and job creation, and other border region investments.

After the ceremony, the District Governor presented gifts to local Thai authorities tasked with protecting the border region and Myanmar government authorities working to advance cross-border business.

A Three Pagodas Pass merchant said, “We really want this border area to be like many other crossings—Mae Sot, Mae Sai, and Ranong. If both governments agree to officially open this border, including authorized border crossing and trade, we, the local traders, can do a lot of business. Products can be exported to Myanmar and many Myanmar products can be sold on the Thai market.”

Previously, the Thai and Myanmar governments officially opened cross-border trade at Mae Sot and Myawaddy, Mae Sai and Tachilake in the northern part of Thailand, and Ranong and Kawthaung in southern Thailand.

Burmese people went to buy things in the marketIn June, the Thai and Myanmar governments intensified their commitment to build up ASEAN’s east-west corridor, agreeing to construct a motorway from Kanchanaburi to Dawei (Tavoy) and develop the Dawei deep-sea port project and industrial complex.

Tavoy, or Dawei in Thai, is located in the Tenasserim Division of Burma and was established as a Special Economic Zone by the Burmese government to promote foreign direct investment and regional trading.

Myanmar and Thailand are both actively preparing for “regional economic integration” as part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

After reaching ceasefire agreements with the Karen National Union (KNU) and the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Burmese government announced its plan to build motorways and a railway from the Burma side of Three Pagodas Pass to Thanbyuzayat, using the route carved by construction of the World War II “Death Railway.”