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Australian New Zealand bank (ANZ) to open office in Myanmar (Burma)

The Australian New Zealand bank (ANZ) has been given approval to open an office in Myanmar — also known as Burma.

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Myanmar police stand guard during a protest in Yangon on December 2, 2012 against a Chinese-backed copper mine in Monywa in northern Myanmar. (Soe Than WIN /AFP/Getty Images)

The Australian New Zealand bank (ANZ) has been given approval to open an office in Myanmar — also known as Burma.

ANZ will become the first OECD bank outside of Japan to receive approval to establish a presence in the Southeast Asian country after the lifting of international sanctions this year, Australia's Fairfax media reported.

It quoted ANZ's head of International Banking, Alex Thursby, as saying:

"This is another important step in our super regional strategy, particularly promoting greater connectivity in the Greater Mekong."

The Greater Mekong region takes in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, it added.

The bank — which already owns stakes in eight banks through Asia region — announced Friday that it had received approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar and Australia's bank regulator to open the office in the commercial center of the capital, Yangon.

The office would focus on offering "liaison services" for clients in the agriculture, resources and infrastructure sectors at first, Marketwatch reported.

Thursby admitted that the the move would enable the bank and its clients to "access opportunities in Myanmar" and open up "new trade and investment opportunities."

Many Western companies have been eyeing off Myanmar's potential for agriculture and oil and gas exports.

Myanmar, the largest country in Southeast Asia by land mass, is located between China and India, Fairfax pointed out, adding that its gross domestic product, currently $43 billion, grew 5.3 percent in 2010.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/myanmar/121206/anz-myanmar-burma-australian-new-zealand-bank