(Mizzima) – China has invested nearly US$ 14 billion in Burma, equal to 35 per cent of Burma's total foreign investments, according to government statistics. China is now Burma’s No. 1 investor, passing Thailand.
China's latest investment in Burma was in November 2011, with $4 billion in the power energy sector. Most of the $14 billion investments are in sectors involving hydropower energy, oil and gas and mining, according to a report in Eleven News in Rangoon.
Foreign investment in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states mostly come from China.
“Jade and timber extractions in Kachin State. Oil and gas in Rakhine State and mining in other states. [China] invested in hydro-electricity power projects in many parts of the country. Presently, 34.5 of the country's total foreign investments are from China [out of more than 30 countries that are investing],” according to a spokesperson from the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce quoted in the Eleven News report.
Until 2008, Chinese investment in Burma was around $1 billion, but it jumped to nearly $13 billion by 2011.
In a 2008 report on China’s investments in Burma, Earthrights International (ERI) identified at least 69 Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) involved in at least 90 hydropower, oil and natural gas, and mining projects in Burma.
These projects varied from small dams completed in the last two decades to planned oil and natural gas pipelines across Burma to southwest China.
Because of Burma’s secrecy in revealing economic information, the information was pieced together from government statements, English and Chinese language news reports, and company press releases available on the Internet, the report said.
The report noted that very little information is disclosed to the Burmese public or the communities’ affected by the projects.
Limited energy resources have made Burma an attractive source for investments for China and other countries including India, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, among Asian countries.
While China has embraced a foreign policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, “the line between business and politics in a country like Burma is blurred at best,” the reported stated.
In pursuit of Burma’s natural resources, China has provided Burma with political support, military armaments, and financial support in the form of conditions-free loans.
For a copy of the report, go to http://www.earthrights.org/publication/china-burma-increasing-investment-chinese-multinational-corporations-burmas-hydropower-o