New Thai-Myanmar border trade zone nears completion


A fifth trade zone on the Thai-Myanmar border is set to open later this year, according to state media. The zone at Mae Se in Kayah State is still under construction, but the project manager told Global New Light of Myanmar that work was nearly complete.

The newspaper said the crossing would increase bilateral trade and help to fight smuggling. Border trade between the two countries reached US$6.56 billion in the financial year to March 11, with Myanmar importing goods valued at $4.15 billion and exporting $2.4 billion. But the real figure is much higher, due to a thriving black market.

In June 2015, the Myanmar Times reported that a border crossing would be opened between Mae Se and Mae Hong Son in Thailand by the end of the year.

Officials said at the time that the crossing would boost tourism and regional development. When it opens, the immigration department will issue seven-day border passes to those entering Myanmar, the report said.

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Kayah State was opened up to tourism in January 2012, but some areas remain off limits due to lingering armed conflict.

Myanmar has four border crossings with Thailand, at Myawady-Mae Sot, Tachileik-Mae Sai, Kawthoung-Ranong and Htee Khee-Phu Nam Ron.

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