Roundup: Myanmar, S. Korea step up economic cooperation
by Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and South Korea are stepping up economic cooperation, as part of which the two countries have signed an agreement on bilateral investment promotion and protection.
The signing took place Thursday in capital Nay Pyi Taw on the occasion of S. Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se's official visit to Myanmar.
During his visit, Yun exchanged views with his Myanmar counterpart U Wunna Maung Lwin on promoting bilateral relations and cooperation.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein and Speaker of the Parliament and the Lower House U Shwe Mann also met Yun separately and held talks on bilateral trade and investment, as well as technical and financial aid for the development of Myanmar, especially the development of its agricultural and rural sectors.
According to official statistics, South Korean investment in Myanmar amounted to 3.05 billion U.S. dollars in 86 projects as of January 2014, accounting for 6.7 percent of the total foreign input and ranking the sixth among all countries that have invested in Myanmar since the country opened its door in late 1988.
Bilateral trade between Myanmar and South Korea reached 1.76 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, of which Myanmar's export to South Korea accounted for 554.59 million dollars while its import from the East Asian country stood at 1.21 billion dollars.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has also approved a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Myanmar and South Korea Thursday on cooperation in technology development, including setting up a polytechnic university in the country.
The South Korea Polytechnic University and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Myanmar are conducting a feasibility study and identifying subjects and curriculums.
South Korea has been helping Myanmar in the development of a number of sectors including agriculture and related mechanization, irrigation technology, rural and socio-economic development as well as healthcare.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is providing assistance in some projects being implemented for the development of agriculture, encouraging export of Myanmar's farm products to South Korea.
Under a five-year plan, the KOICA is helping Myanmar establish a Post-harvest Technology Application Center in Nay Pyi Taw and provide farm equipment for killing pests in fruits and vegetables plants.
Korean experts were also sent to Myanmar for the projects.
KOICA also helped Myanmar in agricultural mechanization by training farmers at Yezin, Nay Pyi Taw Council Area, while upgrading farmland in other areas in the capital.
Under a framework agreement, KOICA also extended a grant aid for 2013 to help Myanmar in the development of road network, a national statistical system, capacity building strategy for conferences, land reform program for mechanized farming and forest greening.