Thai Border Trade With Karenni State On Hold

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A cross-border road to facilitate trade would cut through a Thai conservation area.

By KANTARAWADDY TIMES

While a border trading outpost has been open in Karenni State’s Mese Township for more than two years, official trading is yet to be facilitated between Burma and Thailand.

The trading camp is completed from the Burma side, according to Kayah State government representatives, but the road linking Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province to the country is not yet ready.

The deputy administrator of Mae Hong Son said that Thailand could not open the road or a trading camp, because the road would cut through a wildlife conservation area.

“We cannot grow plants there. We cannot destroy it, either. We cannot cut down the trees. We cannot build a road there. We are fixing the old road,” Prachuab Arjaraphong told Kantarawaddy Times.

The Thai government is currently surveying the wildlife and forest in the area and assessing the impact of constructing a cross-border road.

“If the survey result shows there is no impact on the natural forest or wild animals, we will take back this area from the wildlife conservation department. After that, we can fix the road and it will be ready,” Mr. Arjaraphong said

The Mese border trading camp opened on October 26, 2016. Thailand and Burma signed an agreement connecting Mae Hong Son and the Karenni State capital of Loikaw as sister cities.

The Karenni State hotels and tourism ministry’s managing director U Lin Zaw Htut said that permission had been requested from the central government of both countries to pursue the road project.

“If this road is completed, tourists from both nations can visit each country. We already reported to Union government about establishing a border checkpoint. I hope the Union government will give permission soon,” U Lin Zaw Htut said.

Mae Hong Son deputy administrator Mr. Arjaraphong attended the Karenni State Day commemoration in Loikaw last month. Thai traders came to sell their products at Loikaw’s Karenni State Day celebration. Nearly 120 Thai officials and businessmen were in attendance. S

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