President Duterte arrives in Myanmar on state visit

20 March, 2017, 12:42 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Duterte off to Myanmar today

The Philippines and Myanmar established diplomatic ties in 1956.

"Myanmar's economic development is recognized as one of the fastest in our region and therefore bilateral trade and investment will be a key area of discussion".

From Myanmar, Duterte will proceed to Thailand, which he noted has shared the longest formal relations (67 years) with the Philippines among its ASEAN friends and neighbors.

"With expanding Philippine businesses making their marks around the region and in Myanmar, we can encourage collaboration in mutually beneficial sectors of growth, including in pharmaceuticals and food and beverage", the President stated in his departure message as he left for Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar yesterday afternoon from the Davao International Airport.

He will also meet with Myanmar's State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said the official visit, which will be from March 19 to 20, will coincide with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-Myanmar bilateral relations. But as an Overseas Filipino Worker based here, he said he thinks it is very important that Duterte gets to "live with the expectations of everyone, not alone the Filipinos from the Philippines but also the Filipinos based in other countries".

"Even in the matter of human rights, he takes into account everything".

During the trip, the Philippines president is also scheduled to meet representatives of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Thai Bankers' Association, as well as Thai businessmen and members of the Filipino community at the Royal Thai Navy Hall.

The Philippines has had formal relations with Thailand for 67 years.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the Philippines' top exports to Myanmar are medicaments for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, while the country's major imports from Myanmar are agricultural products.

"Commemorative activities have been held beginning last year and the President's visit to Myanmar this year is the culmination of the celebration of this milestone in our friendly relations with Myanmar", he said. Last year, Phinma Education along with leading clothing brands Bench and Penshoppe joined the growing list of Philippine companies in Myanmar. And then they said, "He is a strong man".

"So when we heard he was coming, we didn't know how to react because we thought he had no chance to stop by Myanmar", he said. This visa-free agreement is expected to lead to more people-to-people exchanges.

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