Sinkhon Checkpoint To Myanmar Needs Full Demarcation

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  1. DavidFL

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    Territorial demarcation hurdle for Sinkhon checkpoint

    checkpoint.

    Efforts to turn Sinkhon border checkpoint into a permanent border crossing are under way and supported by both Myanmar and Thailand. Officials estimate that the arrangements will be completed by the end of 2019, but demarcating the territory and the exact boundary presents the biggest challenge for the project to go ahead.

    Sinkhon Pass in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province is linked to Mawtaung town in Myanmar, which in turn is linked to Myeik in Tanintharyi Region via a main road.

    The border crossing opened officially in May 2013 and since then the officials from both side are scrambling to make it a permanent border crossing point between Thailand and Myanmar.

    Crossings and small scale trading are already permitted since Myanmar opened the Mawtaung border trade office, but Thailand has not accepted large-scale trade to take place yet.

    Under the agreement between the Myanmar and Thai governments, citizens of the two countries as well as other nationals with valid passports and corresponding visas can cross various Myanmar–Thai border gates. These include Tachilek-Maisai, Myawaddy-Maesok, Htee Khee-Phunaron and Kawthoung-Ranong.

    Mawtaung is still excluded as a permanent gate. Hence, transit trade and nationals other than Myanmar and Thai are currently not allowed to cross the pass.


    U Myo Thant, the regional head of National League for Democracy party in Mawtaung town told The Myanmar Times that the gate does not have much trade compared to the rest of the border gates across the country. The lacklustre trading activities are due to the many restrictions on items allowed to cross imposed by the Thai side.

    “Both sides are very enthusiastic to open the gate as a permanent gate but it has been delayed.

    “This is because of the difficulty in defining the border between the two countries.

    “The area between the two countries is almost 1000 square feet, but that seems to be the major problem,” he explained.

    On July 12, the border trade office director general, Mawtaung town administrator and Tanintharyi township administrator held a meeting with Prachuap Khiri Khan Province mayor and other Thai officials to discuss about the Sinkhon Pass.

    U Kyaw Myo Aung, Mawtaung Myo Ma ward administrator who attended the meeting, said the meeting involved a lot of discussion regarding the opening of Sinkhon gate as a permanent one.

    “Prachuap Khiri Khan administrators said they are very enthusiastic to open the gate to facilitate and speed up the flow of goods.

    “They have received the budget for upgrading the infrastructure of the gate and also to construct the two-lane road into a four-lane road.

    “These arrangements are supposed to materialise at the end of 2019,” he said.

    After the opening of the Mawtaung gate in 2013, land price in the town increased dramatically, up to six times as much as the rate before the opening.

    U Myint Zaw, 43, the owner of Dream World restaurant in Mawtaung town, said it is approximately 1,000,000 baht for a piece of 40-to-60 square feet of land along the Mawtaung main road.

    According to the data released by the department of trade under the Ministry of Commerce, the volume of bilateral trade via Mawtaung gate between 2013-14 fiscal year to 2016-17 fiscal year amounted to a total of US$8.4 million, including $2.8 million export and $5.5 million import.

    A majority of exports to Thailand are fishery products while most of the imports are fruits.

    “If the gate is opened permanently from the Thai side, the trade flow will be much higher than the present volume,” said U Myint Zaw Moe, assistant director of department of trade.​

    Source: Myanmar Times 19.7.2017.
     

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