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Over a million Myanmar migrant workers remain undocumented in Thailand
Eleven Myanmar
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 17:41

Over a million Myanmar migrant workers living in Thailand still have not received temporary passports and are being forced to pay extortion money to regional authorities to continue their stay, according to officials of the Education and Development Foundation in Thailand.
"At the moment, 1.5 million migrant workers have not been registered while another 1.5 million workers have been documented. The undocumented workers are paying extortion money to regional authorities while some live under the protection of their bosses. But there are also those who are living normally," said Htoo Chit, a senior advisor of Education and Development Foundation (Thailand).
Many Myanmar migrant workers have been working for less than 300 baht even though the Thai government has specified 300 baht as national minimum wage. According to reports, some entrepreneurs have been hindering the documentation process as they do not want to pay the required minimum wage to their workers after they have been registered.

Many Myanmar migrant workers reside in industrialised areas and Ranong and Chiang Mai. Myanmar's Ministry of Labour announced last February that the Ministry has issued temporary passport for over 1.23 million undocumented migrant workers in Thailand.
 

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Discrepancies around Thai investment figures in Myanmar
Eleven Myanmar
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 18:40

According to the list of foreign countries which have made foreign investments in Myanmar, Thailand stands in the second place, having been allowed to invest US$10 billion.

However, data released at the end of June 2013 shows that actual investment made in Myanmar by Thailand only totals over US$ 2.8 billion. The figure was reached only after US$410 million was added during the period from April to June 2013.

Although Thailand is listed to be the second largest investor in Myanmar according to the government data, it only stands the fourth in the actual investment.

China is on the top of the list of actual foreign investment with over US$ 14 billion while Hong Kong stands second as it has invested over US$ 6.3 billion in two consecutive years surpassing Thailand and the Republic of Korea.
South Korea stands third in the list with an investment of nearly US$ 3 billion while Thai stands fourth.

According to Foreign Investment Law, Myanmar has allowed 32 countries to invest nearly US$43 billion until the end of June 2013. But the actual amount is not correct because some investors withdrew their money.

The actual investment is nearly US$33 billion and the gap between actual investment and the investment allowed by the government is US$10 million. Thailand alone has US$7 million gap between actual investment and the investment allowed by the government.
 

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Four Thai-Myanmar border crossings to be opened on August 28
Eleven Myanmar
Sunday, 25 August 2013 17:09

Myanmar and Thai citizens, as well as foreign tourists, will be allowed to pass through four Thai-Myanmar border checkpoints, including Myawady, starting from August 28, an official said.

"We have received instructions to allow Thai citizens and foreign tourists to pass through all four border checkpoints on August 28. The remarkable thing is that Myanmar citizens with visas and passports will also be allowed to visit [Thailand] through the border crossings," said an official from the Immigration and National Registration Department of Myawady District.

The four checkpoints include
1. Tarchileik-Mae Sai,
2. Myawady-Mae Sot,
3. Kawthaung-Ranong and
4. Htee Khee-Sunaron.

Fine will be imposed if their visa expired.

Foreign visitors using the border crossings can depart from Myanmar through any official gateways including Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and Mandalay.

The government has amended its list of restricted areas after an improvement in rules of law and stability in the country.
 

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Myanmar plans to implement two new deep seaport projects
Eleven Myanmar
Sunday, 25 August 2013 16:39

Myanmar is planning to construct another two new deep seaports in the Tanintaryi coast and Ayeyarwady region, according to Myanmar Port Authority (MPA).

Thailand is interested to construct Kalargote deep seaport project located between Mawlamyaing and Yay in Tanintaryi coast. Singapore is also interested to invest at Ngayokekaung deep seaport located at Ngayokekaung Bay in Ayayarwady region.
Emerald Grand Hotel Group from Thailand and Super Axis Development Pte Ltd. from Singapore have signed MoU with the MPA in this month to analyse the potential to construct deep seaports in Kalargote and Ngayokekaung respectively.

In the analysis, the measurement of water resistance, ground testing, the effect of wind and tide and the overall expenses to construct a whole deep seaport are included.
Ngayokekaung deep seaport port will have the capacity to load 50,000-tonnes of goods and Kalargote deep seaport will be able to contain 30 vessels of about 50,000-tonnes, according to Chief Civil Engineer of the MPA Mya Than.

After completing the research, the MPA will decide whether the project will be conducted as a build, operate and transfer (BOT) system or a joint venture.

Industrial zones projects are included in those two projects and the MPA will cooperate with Ayeyawady regional government, Mon State government and Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development to implement the two projects.
 

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Mandalay Chamber of Commerce inviting Thai investors to invest in Mandalay including consumer products, palm oil refinery, soy bean refinery
and of course plantation and food processing since 90% of business in Mandalay are agriculture - the reason for picking up Thai investors are due to the fact that Thai investors are more polite than Japanese and the familiar but arrogant Chinese investors.

Furthermore, the factory to produce ceramic tiles and ceramic tile glue in Mandalay is preferred due to the market demands which can be done in the industrial estates in Mandalay even though Thai investors better invest on power plant fueled by agriculture products to cope with brownout.

However, Khun Thanit Sorat has made a point that so long Thai investors have to rely on the shipping instead of land transportation due the restriction at Thai-Burmese border along with the longer distance from the border, the main investment focus for Thai investors will be Yangon - despite of the threat from Chinese and Japanese investors. After all, most of Thai investors in Burma are those SME who cannot stand with 300 Baht daily wage nationwide. So, the investment around Yangon, and Dawei deep sea port or Southern Burma should be the main focus for Thai investors which is closer to Thai border.

Nevertheless, the barley plantation and malt processing along with tapioca plantation should be the main focus for Thai investment in Mandalay in addition to Hotel. However, the wheat plantation may be in need to produce wheat for both consumption in burma and export to Thailand to make bread and roti

Note: Now, I have learnt the price of palm oil (1.5 litre bottle) in Mandalay is 160 Baht - well above the 63 Baht (for 1-litre bottle + 0.5 litre bottle) in Thailand.

http://www.thanonline.com/index.php...59-23&catid=87:2009-02-08-11-23-26&Itemid=423
 

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Myanmar proposes speedy efforts on demarcation, joint tourism promotion

BANGKOK, Sept 5 – A high-ranking Myanmar official has called on Thailand to speed up demarcation of the two countries’ border for security and joint development.

In a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House, Myanmar’s upper house speaker Khin Aung Myint also urged Thailand to support the “Two Countries, One Destination” tourism campaign and promote connectivity among Thai and Myanmar people.

Ms Yingluck threw her support to Mr Aung Myint’s requests on demarcation and joint tourism promotion, saying it would expand trade and private sector investment.

She said the “Two Countries, One Destination” principle would connect not only Thailand and Myanmar, but also with other Southeast Asian countries.

Thailand is keen on drawing both sides of the ocean closer through investment in the mega Dawei industrial project and the Thai government has invited foreign investors to play a role in developing the multi-billion-baht project, said Prime Minister Yingluck.

Regarding the arrivals of Rohingya minority refugees from Myanmar to Thailand, Mr Aung Myint said they were not Myanmar citizens and that Myanmar was not responsible for their entry to Thailand.

They came to Thailand from Bangladesh, he said.

Ms Yingluck said Thailand has given shelter to the Rohingya people in accord with international standards and the Thai government would not allow resistance or minority groups in the neighbouring country to use Thailand as their base for actions against the Myanmar government.

Meanwhile, immigration police in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Khai reported that about 105 Rohingya detainees broke out of a detention room in the immigration centre and destroyed closed-circuit cameras. They wanted to leave Thailand for a third country.

Over 100 police officers were dispatched to the protest site and the Rohingya detainees were told through an interpreter to calm down but to no avail.

They continued their violent protest, compelling police to fire rubber bullets to scare them. A Rohingya migrant was slightly injured.

Police said 17 leaders were separated from the group to be confined elsewhere. (MCOT online news)

http://www.mcot.net/site/content?id=5227e354150ba0b9060000c6#.UijK_Mano_A
 

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Thailand-Myanmar reaffirms close ties and mutual cooperation

Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities Khin Aung Myint paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Ivory Room, Thai Khu Fah Building, Government House, on the occasion of his visit to Thailand as guest of the Thai Parliament.

September 4, 2013 at 1400hrs, U Khin Aung Myint, Speaker of the House of Nationalities, Republic of the Union of Myanmar paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Ivory Room, Thai Khu Fah Building, Government House, on the occasion of his visit to Thailand as guest of the Thai Parliament. Government Spokesperson Teerat Ratanasevi revealed gist of the meeting as follows:

PM Yingluck welcomed the Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities on his official visit to Thailand which is significant in strengthening legislative relations between the House of Representatives of both countries and in pushing forward laws related to the realization of the ASEAN Community.

Both parties were pleased with constant development of mutual relations, and agreed to reinforce the development of close cooperation for mutual interests.

Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities expressed his hope for the completion of the border demarcation in order to ensure security and further development along the border areas. PM Yingluck endorsed the matter in hope to facilitate the expansion of trade and investment of the private sector along the border and to prepare for the upcoming ASEAN Community.

PM Yingluck stated that Thailand pledged support for Myanmar to host SEA Games 2013 and to be the president of ASEAN next year, as well as the support in its democratic development and reconciliation process. She assured Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities that Thailand will not tolerate the anti- Myanmar government groups and minorities who will use the country as base for the anti- Myanmar government movement.

Speaker of Myanmar’s House of Nationalities also thanked PM Yingluck for her cooperation on Myanmar labors and marveled her for being able to overcome diverse challenges. He, lastly, wished her success in all endeavors.

http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/news-ro...ffirms-close-ties-and-mutual-cooperation.html
 

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Growing to Become A Giant Halal FastFood Chain

Malaysia's largest homegrown franchised and non-urban fastfood chain. It is apparently one of the world's largest HALAL fried chicken chain homegrowned from Southeast Asia.



Founded in 1981, Marrybrown now has over 350 restaurants in Malaysia, Azerbaijan, China, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and now opened in Myanmar.

Marrybrown became the first international fastfood chain to open in Myanmar recently. It plans to open new stores in Thailand, Jordan and Turkey this year, with most of its customers being the local citizens.


Marrybrown scores a first in Myanmar
The Star | Updated: Monday July 1, 2013 MYT 8:14:23 AM
http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/.../01/Marrybrown-scores-a-first-in-Myanmar.aspx



Marrybrown opens first outlet in Myanmar

http://investvine.com/marrybrown-opens-first-outlet-in-myanmar/



Malaysian fast-food chain Marrybrown, known for its halal fried chicken, burgers and finger food, has opened its first restaurant in Myanmar on June 28.

The Yangon store will kick off an expansion of Marrybrown in Myanmar to 16 outlets in 5 years, the company’s business development manager Joshua Liew was quoted as saying by Malaysia’s The Star newspaper.

Marrybrown is now the first foreign fast-food chain operating in Myanmar: Other chains, namely McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, are still exploring a roll-out in Myanmar. US-coffee house chain Starbucks also has Myanmar on its radar.

However, apart from some local brands, the fast-food segment in Myanmar remains still largely untapped. Economist cite high property rents and a still weak purchasing power of locals as the main issues.

Meanwhile, Marrybrown said it wants to expand its presence in southern Thailand and also venture into Jordan and Turkey. Currently and apart from Malaysia and Thailand, it operates restaurants in China, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Tanzania, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. Altogether, the chain has over 350 outlets.
 

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Ten Thai firms eye investing in Myanmar's Mon state
Prakaidown Bangsantia
The Nation
Saturday, 14 September 2013 15:07

Ten Thai companies are looking to invest in Mon state, Myanmar, to take advantage of the growing business opportunities there.
They are Imac Asset Co, Andaman Seafood Co, Nava Nakorn, Mida Assets, Max Size Co, Shrimp Farming Cooperatives of Thailand, Ten Consultants Co, Ritta Co, Wang Lert Luk Co, and Cape Dara Resort Pattaya.

Imac Assets already has invested in Mon after winning a 60-year concession from the state to develop property and industrial estates in Mawlamyaing, the state capital.

It is applying for investment privileges from the Myanmar Investment Commission to develop industrial zones there. If approved, it will be entitled to waive corporate income tax for five to eight years and waive duty on the import of machinery to develop industrial zones in two locations, one occupying more than 2,000 rai (320 hectares) and the other 15,000 rai.
The company estimates that it will need to invest at least Bt4 billion on developing the smaller zone. It is it is still calculating an estimate for the larger one.

Imac president Boonsom Chindapraneekul said that as the part of this concession, the company had upgraded an existing golf course in Mawlamyaing. It is in the process of designing a hotel to operate in conjunction with the golf club, the construction of which is expected to cost more than Bt200 million. The 72-room hotel is expected to open early next year, and the complex will be named Imac Hotel and Golf Club. The combined cost of the golf-course upgrade and the hotel construction is Bt300 million to Bt400 million.
On the 2,000-rai industrial estate, it plans to develop factories for rent. Both industrial zones are expected to be operational by 2015.
Seksit Charoensethasil, vice president of Nava Nakorn, said Myanmar and Vietnam were strategic logistical locations linking Asean's East and West economic corridors. But many factors need to be considered before making investment decisions. These include legal, energy, labour, and micro- and macroeconomic aspects before investment plans can be proposed to the board of directors.

Watcharat Lelawat, deputy director of the International Institute for Trade and Development said at a seminar titled "Myanmar: Challenging Country in Asean" that in 2010 and 2011 Myanmar recorded US$20 billion (Bt637 billion) in foreign direct investment, $9 billion of which was from Thailand. Only China invested more.
 

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FGV scouts for land in Asean, Africa
By Zaidi Isham IsmailPublished: 2013/08/14
http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/20130813232636/Article/index_html

GOING UPSTREAM: New acquisitions to help it become among world’s top integrated agribusiness firms

FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) is scouting for oil palm land in the Asean region, Cameroon and Nigeria.

The planter is banking on new acquisitions to help it become one of the world’s top 10 integrated agribusiness companies.

Newly-appointed president and chief executive officer Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah said the company is reviewing several merger and acquisition proposals.

The initial plan is to go upstream and Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia remain the prime destinations.

“Once the Asean expansion is in place, we will explore West Africa for upstream oil palm operations,” he told Business Times recently.

Mohd Emir added that FGV’s team in Cameroon and Nigeria are identifying suitable locations for oil palm plantations.

“FGV aims to implement and replicate the successful Felda scheme model in West Africa, Myanmar and Cambodia,” he said.

“We also hope to share our experience in eradicating poverty so that the poor can have a steady income cultivating oil palm and rubber,” said Mohd Emir.

He said Indonesia remains an attractive destination for FGV, adding that it is now planting oil palm on 15,000ha of greenfield land in Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

Mohd Emir added that FGV is also keen to acquire more raw land and brownfield plantations in Indonesia, partly to address its old palm tree profile in Malaysia.

“Apart from beefing up our upstream operations, FGV is also looking at boosting its downstream operations to protect the upstream operations, which are exposed to the volatility of crude
palm oil (CPO) prices.”

He said although the bulk of its RM10.4 billion initial public offering (IPO) proceeds will be used to buy land, FGV is also developing its downstream operations in Malaysia and overseas.

Mohd Emir said part of the proceeds will go into downstream business, such as building more palm oil mills and refineries overseas.

“Even though the downstream operations are very challenging right now, we need to build up the downstream business to help protect and support our diversified upstream operations,” he
added.

Currently, Felda Holdings’ subsidiary, Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd, has been marketing its Saji brand of cooking oil in Myanmar, which has been receiving good response.

Another joint venture in Myanmar is to build a RM20 million cooking oil packaging plant near Yangon, which is slated for operations this year.

FGV produces 10 per cent, or three million tonnes, of the world’s CPO. It owns 343,521ha of oil palm plantations and manages 500,000ha more for Malaysia’s 112,635 smallholders.
 

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From The Straits Times : http://www.straitstimes.com/breakin...produce-cars-economic-engine-myanmar-20130920


Nissan to produce cars in 'economic engine' Myanmar


YANGON (AFP) - Japan's Nissan Motor unveiled plans on Friday to launch production in Myanmar, as international auto makers compete for a share of the former junta-ruled country's fast-growing car market.

Japanese auto producers are ramping up production in South-east Asia to offset sluggish sales in their domestic market and in recovering Western economies.

Nissan said that its Malaysian partner Tan Chong Motors would build the largest automobile manufacturing site in Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of harsh military rule.

The new plant will open in the Bago region in 2015 producing Nissan Sunny cars. With 300 workers, it will have a capacity to assemble more than 10,000 vehicles a year.
 

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From The Irrawaddy : http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/44438


Nissan to Produce 10,000 Cars a Year in Burma


TOKYO — Nissan Motor Company will start complete knock down production of the Sunny sedan in Burma with a Malaysian partner in 2015, it said on Friday, becoming the first major global carmaker to assemble cars in the Southeast Asian country.

Nissan’s Malaysian partner Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd will build a plant in the Pegu Division, some 70 km (43 miles) northeast of Burma’s biggest city, Burma, with an annual capacity of over 10,000 vehicles, Nissan said in a statement.

“We are confident that Myanmar will be an important economic engine for the region and are committed to help develop its automotive industry,” said Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn in the statement.

The companies will use parts sourced from Thailand, India, China and Japan as well as by local suppliers, Nissan spokesman Chris Keeffe said.

Global carmakers are rushing to set up in the Myanmar, which until recently was under international economic sanctions.

Earlier this year, Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, a smaller carmaker, resumed production of vehicles in Burma for the first time in three years, manufacturing about 100 small trucks a month.

In July, Nissan and Tan Chong Motor opened Nissan’s first showroom in Burma, where they sell a pickup truck and a commercial van as well as provide after service and spare parts.
 

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Myanmar: Pros and cons of investing in the region's last frontier market
Eleven Myanmar
Sunday, 22 September 2013 14:09

My visit to Myanmar about a year ago, including inspection of raw land, office buildings, serviced apartments and hotels, reminded me of when I first started working with CBRE Thailand 25 years ago. The key difference is that I now have a thorough knowledge of the property market, whereas in 1988 I was still new to the industry.

It was interesting to explore the market, trying to understand the key locations in Yangon and with the information available, predict where the prime development locations would be and how Thai and other foreign developers might influence the market.

Being the region's last true frontier market, Myanmar has seen an exorbitant rise in property prices and rents due to the lack of quality developments.
Offices, hotels and serviced apartments are the first three sectors that enjoy high demand in any emerging market as it serves inbound investors and corporations that are starting up.

It's a shock to see all three sectors currently achieving rents way above prime Bangkok offices.

In the past 20 years, the Yangon office market had seen limited demand and therefore existing supply is currently limited. Yangon's total estimated office supply is 35,000 square metres, comprising Grade B and C stock by regional standards. With high demand, existing office buildings are operating at full occupancy, with rents rising to US$85-$90 (Bt2,700-Bt2,850) per square metre, compared with $50 last year.
Hotels and serviced apartments are also enjoying full occupancy and high room rates. The Yangon market has seen land prices, office and residential rents consistently rising without a short-term remedy in sight.

With unmatched demand and supply, prices are expected to see further rises until there is adequate supply; however, this is still a long way off. While a few private developers that are already well established in Myanmar, such as Yoma and Traders, are responding to the supply shortage, it will take a significant lead time to secure sites, obtain permits and complete construction.

We don't expect the situation to change in the next two or three years until new projects are ready for occupation.
I recently revisited Yangon and noticed dramatic changes since my last trip a year ago, particularly in the number of small-scale developments. We have to admit that while Myanmar has a lot of potential, it is market for high-risk and long-term strategic investors.

There is currently an active local market, with land plots changing hands at rising prices.
New foreign investors will find the market difficult and challenging, as there is no robust legal framework for foreigners to buy land, and property development cannot be undertaken without approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission.
The lack of a robust structure and clear legal framework, the ongoing political risk and America's remaining sanctions on Myanmar are significant factors that continue to hold back the country. Myanmar is not an open or easy market, particularly for the cautious or conservative.

Investors in manufacturing, telecommunications or other non-property business ventures will work within the current property landscape.

With foreign investment poised to pour into the country, investors are facing various challenges in setting up an office, from securing office space to finding residential accommodation for its expatriate staff. Yet it is an exciting market with potential.
Thailand has significant advantages of being Myanmar's longest active trading neighbour, as well as having the right mindset to understand a frontier market. On Myanmar's part, there is still a lot to be done in terms of infrastructure and groundwork.

CBRE Thailand has been advising a number of clients entering the Myanmar market and is spearheading the firms' expansion into the country. It is not easy but it is definitely an exciting market and one where I look forward to contributing to the sensible development of the real-estate industry.
 

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Nok Air starts flight from Mae Sot to Mawlamyine
Eleven Myanmar
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 23:26
Nok Air's New business plan after the successful daily flights between Mae Sod and Mawlamyine by pairing up the Burmese businessmen from Mawlamyine with Thai businessmen from Mae Sod with 2 pairs of flight between mae Sod and Mawlamyine from 28 to 30 October 2013.

Pair 1: Depart Mae Sod 09.45 AM
Depart Mawlamyine 10.05 AM
Pair 2: Depart Mae Sod 11.35 AM
Depart Mawlamyine 12.30 PM

The fight takes 25 minutes - very fast since the road is still full of potholes to the point that it takes 6-7 hours to go between Mae Sod and Mawlamyine by land despite of the distance of just about 100 km.
http://www.dailynews.co.th/businesss/238672
 

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Petronas wins energy blocks in Myanmar
Published: 2013/10/11
http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_Ne...131011160216/Article/index_html#ixzz2hTA2kCqS

YANGON, Myanmar: Italy’s Eni, India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas were among the winners of contracts for 16 onshore energy blocks in Myanmar, an energy ministry official said on Friday.

Thirteen of the 16 contracts were production sharing deals and the rest were petroleum recovery contracts, said the official, who sought anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Eni, Petronas, ONGC, Pakistan’s Petroleum Exploration (PVT) and Canada’s Pacific Hunt Energy Corp each won contracts to operate two blocks, according to a list of the winners seen by Reuters.

For the first time in Myanmar, the winners would be required to perform Environment Impact Assessments before final approval from the country’s investment commission, the official added.-- Reuters
 

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Cabinet OKs visa waivers for Thailand, Myanmar

BANGKOK, Oct 22 - The Thai Cabinet has approved the signing of a bilateral agreement on visa exemptions between Thailand and Myanmar, as proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Government Spokesperson Teerat Ratanasevi said on Tuesday that the visa waiver programme allows a reciprocal 14-day visa exemption for ordinary passport holders and a free entrance at 23 airports in Thailand and Myanmar.

Both countries, however, have the right to deny entry without prior notice, and the programme can be temporarily suspended for national security and public health reasons with notification through diplomatic channels at least 15 days in advance. The agreement will be enforced unless either party notifies the other of its intent to terminate the agreement via diplomatic channels. Notification shall be given at least 60 days in advance.

Mr Teerat said the Cabinet has also assigned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proceed with the agreement without Cabinet deliberations.

The visa exemption policy should come into effect at the time Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attends the Myanmar 2013 SEA Games opening on December 11 and 12. (MCOT online news)

http://www.mcot.net/site/content?id=52665780150ba014560002d3#.UmauVfmnras
 
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