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General information about Myanmar and relations with Vietnam


THE UNION OF MYANMAR

 

I. OVERVIEW

 

Country name:

- Conventional long form: THE UNION OF MYANMAR

- Conventional short form: Myanmar

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Area: Total: 678,500 sq km Land: 657,740sq km Water: 20,760 sq km

Population: 52 millions (2001)

Religions: Buddhist 89%, animist and other

Languages: Myanmar (official), English, and various ethnic languages

Capital: Yangon

Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Currency: Kyat

Independence Day : 4 January (1948)

Leaders: Chairman of SPDC, Senior Gen. Than Shwe (since April 1992)

Prime Minister Lt-Gen. Soe Win (since 20 October 2004)

Government type: Military Regime

Foreign policy: Myanmar follows a foreign policy of independence, friendship and cooperation with all countries especially neighbour countries. Myanmar participated in ASEAN in July 1997 and has been an active member since then.

Myanmar is also a member of other international organizations such as:

ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO .

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 57.2%; industry: 9.6%; services: 33.1% (2004 est)

Exports commodities: Clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice.

Economy overview:

Myanmar is a resource-rich country that suffers from government controls and abject rural poverty. The military regime took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled. Myanmar has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including a steep inflation rate and an official exchange rate that overvalues the kyat by more than 100 times the market rate. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election. A crisis in the private banking sector in early 2003 followed by economic moves against Myanmar by the United States, the European Union, and Japan - including a US ban on imports from Myanmar and a Japanese freeze on new bilateral economic aid - further weakened the Myanmar’s economy. Myanmar is data poor, and official statistics are often dated and inaccurate. Published estimates of Myanmar's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the official economy. Better relations with foreign countries and relaxed controls at home are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. In February 2003, a major banking crisis hit the country's 20 private banks, shutting them down and disrupting the economy. In July and August 2003, the United States imposed a ban on all Myanmar’s imports and a ban on provision of financial services, hampering Myanmar's ability to obtain foreign exchange. As of January 2004, the largest private banks remained moribund, leaving the private sector with little formal access to credit outside of government contracts.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $74.33 billion (2004 est)

GDP real growth rate: 4.5% (2003)

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity):  $1,800 (2004 est)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 49.7% (2004 est)

Unemployment rate: 4.2% (2004 est.)

 

II. RELATIONS WITH VIETNAM

 

Date of dioplmatic relation establishment: 28 July, 1975

Exchange of visits: Myanmar has a traditional relation of friendship and multi-sided cooperation with Vietnam. The two countries frequently exchange delegations at both high level. Recent visits include:

Primer Minister Vo Van Kiet (5/1994), General Secretary Do Muoi (5/1997), Primer Minister Phan Van Khai (5/2000), President Tran Duc Luong (5/2002), Former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet (8/2004). Chairman Senior Gen. Than Shwe visited Viet Nam (3/1995 and 3/2003) and Prime Minister Khin Nyunt (8/2004).

Agreements and MOUs signed: 06  (up to March 2004)

Contact addresses:

Vietnam Embassy in Yangon:

No. 317 – 319 U Wisara Road, Sanchaung T/S,

Yangon, Myanmar.

Tel: 951524656;  951501992.

 

 Embassy of Myanmar in Hanoi:

A3 Van Phuc Quarter

Ba Dinh District

Hanoi.

Tel: 8453369

 

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