Moscow steps up business with Nay Pyi Taw

At a Russia-Myanmar Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (RMIC) meeting in Moscow last month, Russian commission chair Minister Maksim Oreshkin and Minister for the Ministry of Planning and Finance, U Kyaw Win, signed an agreement to set up a Russia trade representative office in Yangon.

The trade representative office should be launched by the end of 2018 with a crucial task to improve bilateral trade [with Myanmar]. – Nikolay Listopadov, Russian Ambassador

During the meeting, Mr Oreshkin highlighted the doubling of bilateral trade volumes between the two countries in 2016 as one reason for opening the Yangon office.

Last year, bilateral trade turnover between the two countries reached $158.3 million, an almost 100 percent increase from 2015, according to figures from the Russian embassy.

Between January and July this year, the turnover amounted to $138.9 million, which is up 60pc over the same period in 2016.

“The major point for cooperation is increasing annual bilateral turnover to $500 million in a three-year timeframe,” Mr Listopadov explained.

He added that the trade office will be tasked with fulfilling the target by four channels. The first is to identify market opportunities in Myanmar and what domestic businesses need from Russian counterparts. This will be followed by promoting Russian exports and technologies and by supporting joint projects to ensure that a mechanism is in place to resolve commercial disputes.

Additionally, the office will assist Myanmar exporters in penetrating the Russian market as well as the markets of member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.

At the RMIC meeting, the scaling up of trading in agricultural products was extensively discussed. Both countries also touched upon a wide range of economic partnerships, including modernising the legal framework for bilateral collaboration, “cooperation boost in nuclear sphere”, and identifying a list of prioritised trade and investment projects for the Commission.

There will be a Russian delegation in agriculture visiting Yangon towards the end of this year. The RMIC is also keen to increase the quotas for Myanmar students to study in Russia, and promote Russia’s education opportunities in the country.

Additionally, the export of Russian machinery and equipment, e-government and cyber security technologies have boosted trade results, and Myanmar’s energy infrastructure development is an area where Russian businesses have become more active, according to the Russian ambassador.

Dr Ludmila Lutz-Auras, assistant professor at the University of Rostock, Germany, earlier told The Myanmar Times that Russia views Myanmar as part of its pivot to Asia, and as key to extending Moscow’s foothold in ASEAN.

“Engagement in Myanmar offers a good opportunity to check its own positions on the international political stage,” she said.

The academic added that Moscow also plays a new “balancer role” in Myanmar’s relations with the major powers which shape the developments of the country, namely Beijing, New Delhi and Washington.

Source: Myanmar Times

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