Thursday, 27 March 2014

Chinese investment standards pose challenge for ASEAN countries—People’s Forum

Chinese investment is a challenge not only for Myanmar but also for the entire ASEAN region, Premrudee Daoroung, vice chairperson of the ASEAN People’s Forum, said at a press conference held on Monday (March 24).

China does not set the investment standard for ASEAN countries. But their standards are lower than international norms, so this can pose a problem for ASEAN, the vice chair said.

Chinese companies do not have enough capital to invest in mega projects; nor can they obtain enough loans from private banks. So they have to borrow from the Chinese government. The standards set by the Chinese government, business people and companies are the same, she said.

“Civil organizations from all ASEAN countries need to ask the Chinese government to set ethical standards. The Chinese are not using the same standards. Most of them are below international standards. If they are doing it their own way, the agreements between respective governments and the Chinese will not be within the international standards.”

The final day of the People’s Forum (March 21-23) in Yangon featured several protests to stop major Chinese investments such as the Myitsone, Thanlwin and Letpadaungtaung projects. China has expressed its desire to make large investments in other ASEAN countries as well, so land grabbing cases are likely to happen in those countries, Premrudee concluded.

“Many land plots will be needed if they want to do these megaprojects. In doing so, they will need more energy for the projects. They will need to construct more dams to produce more electricity. So the risks to the environment will be huge,” she said.

Although there have many protests against local megaprojects, Myanmar continues to face many ongoing projects. Most have major Chinese investment, and the benefits of these projects goes mostly to the Chinese, she added.

source: Eleven Myanmar
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