The con­struc­tion of the BCIM Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor Vs Myan­mar

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Khaing Hsu

The BCIM Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor is the eco­nomic link con­nect­ing the Ganges River of In­dia, the Ay­er­waddy River of Myan­mar, and the Mekong River of Indo-China. It is the lead bridge con­nect­ing the Pa­cific Ocean and the In­dian Ocean. It is a mar­ket fo­cus point for China, South and South East Asia. There­fore, build­ing of the BCIM Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor con­forms to the com­mon in­ter­est re­quire­ments of the sub re­gional coun­tries’ eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

The BCIM Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor in­cludes four pri­or­ity fields: the in­fra­struc­ture, con­struct­ing of con­nec­tiv­ity, the co­op­er­a­tion de­vel­op­ment of in­dus­trial parks, and the in­ter­na­tional fi­nance open­ing of co­op­er­a­tion and the for­ma­tion of a sys­tem­atic mech­a­nism.

Out of sev­eral sub-re­gional spa­tial trends of the BCIM Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor one par­tic­u­lar con­struc­tion is the China-Myan­mar oil and gas pipe­line. In this con­text Myan­mar and China signed a 770 km crude oil and gas pipe­line dur­ing the re­cent visit of Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw to China. The project which went into oper­a­tion within a few days af­ter sign­ing, will an­nu­ally trans­port up to 22 mil­lion met­ric tons of crude oil to China. It hap­pens that this oil pipe­line runs par­al­lel to the Chi­nese gas pipe­line that also runs to China. In the same oc­ca­sion of sign­ing the oil pipe­line project, the Ex­change of Let­ter on Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Deep Sea Port Project and In­dus­trial Park Project in Kyauk­phyu also took place.

China’s choice of Kyauk­phyu as a Deep Sea Port could be taken as to cir­cum­vent the Malacca Straits, while the Kyauk­phyu Eco­nomic Zone could be a key to the Myan­mar, Bangladesh and North East In­dia Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor. It is good that through the Kal­adan River one could eas­ily reach North East In­dia via Mi­zo­ram. As at now, the Chi­nese Prov­ince of Yun­nan is con­nected to the Bay of Ben­gal and the In­dian Ocean and also North East In­dia us­ing Kyauk­phyu as a trans­port cen­tre.

An­other con­nec­tiv­ity that should be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion is build­ing a link be­tween Yun­nan and the South East­ern part of Myan­mar, that is, Mawlamyine and Dawei, through Man­dalay, those of which are end points for the West-East Trans­port Cor­ri­dors be­tween Viet­nam and Myan­mar con­nect­ing Quy Nhou and Vung Thuu with Dawei, and Danang with Mawlamyine. In fact, Dawei is not far from Myeik (Mer­gui) and the town­ship Thai lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are re­cently at­tempt­ing to mod­ern­ize con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween Myeik (Myan­mar) and Prachuap Khirikhan (Thai) and es­tab­lish a Deep Sea Fa­cil­ity. Myeik is a coastal town in An­daman Sea and the Thai town Prachuap Khirikhan is not far from the East­ern coast of Gulf of Thai­land and the Yun­nan link with Myeik would lead to boost­ing bi­lat­eral trade. In fact Dawei and Myeik, ly­ing in the Tanintharyi Di­vi­sion of Myan­mar could def­i­nitely be used as good Deep Sea Ports. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal sources a Chi­nese State Com­pany, the China Na­tional Fish­eries Cor­po­ra­tion, has al­ready car­ried out lo­gis­ti­cal stud­ies and sur­veys ear­lier this year.

It is also learnt that an­other Chi­nese com­pany has also com­pleted a fea­si­bil­ity study so as to de­cide the best route for the pro­posed Kra Canal, Thai­land, sit­u­ated to the south of Myan­mar’s far south.

Mawlamyine which has close trade re­la­tions with Thai­land is in­creas­ingly seen as an im­por­tant trans­port link con­nect­ing land­locked Yun­nan and the South East Asia mar­ket. More ef­forts should be made by both gov­ern­ments to make use of Mawlamyine as an in­vest­ment hub also for port and in­dus­try pur­poses.

The Myan­mar gov­ern­ment has re­cently an­nounced four Dry Ports and adop­tion of plans for build­ing more State high­ways and roads across the coun­try. In this con­nec­tion both coun­tries should meet and ex­change ideas how to link Myan­mar’s pro­jected road plans and the 1,400km In­dia (Me­galaya), Myan­mar, Thai­land High­way Project, with the plans of the BCIM or OBOR and re­viv­ing of the Ledo Road.

On March 2, 2017 the Myan­mar Tourism Fo­rum was formed by the Myan­mar Min­istry of Ho­tels and Tourism and the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, with the sup­port of the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Yan­gon and the Yun­nan Gov­ern­ment. In this con­text, both sides should ex­change ideas on the tourism mind­set of Myan­mar and Chi­nese peo­ple. This is be­cause many have failed to rec­og­nize im­por­tant cul­tural-com­mu­nity im­per­a­tives es­pe­cially from the Myan­mar side.

Mean­while, bit­ter les­sons should be taken from the ex­pe­ri­ences in re­spect of My­it­sone Dam, Mongywa Cop­per Mine and Kyauk­phyu-Yun­nan Rail Line Project. In or­der to avoid mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween the two coun­tries any State Cor­po­ra­tions or com­pa­nies or per­son or per­sons should un­der­stand and ad­here to the Fun­da­men­tal Prin­ci­ples of BCIM and the stated “Peo­ple to Peo­ple” ob­jec­tives set out in the OBOR pol­icy doc­u­ments while Myan­mar should take ad­van­tage or the One Belt One Road in con­form­ity with the set prin­ci­ples and reg­u­la­tions of OBOR.

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