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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 25, 1958

ON THE ISSUES OF MARKET CONDITIONS IN BURMA AND BURMESE BUSINESSMEN PARTICIPATING IN THE AUTUMN TRADE FAIR

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Chinese government analyzes the intentions and likely benefits of having Burmese business people come to trade fairs in China.
    "On the Issues of Market Conditions in Burma and Burmese Businessmen Participating in the Autumn Trade Fair," September 25, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Guangdong Provincial Archives 304-1-18-18-20. Obtained for CWIHP by Hongwei Fan and translated by Max Maller. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118250
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The Chinese embassy in Burma’s business attaché explained, “Representative Burmese officials and semi-officials attended the trade fair simply for sightseeing purposes and will not make any real transactions. This is because these individuals do not have the power to make purchases outside their borders. Civilian goods, supplies, etc. need to go through the neighborhood committee, and the supplies division needs to check them. However, these individuals could play a vital role down the road in opening up accounts between Burmese government spending and China. Therefore, I recommend that the appropriate Chinese government divisions extend them the warmest possible welcome. This will satisfy them…Burmese businessmen’s goal for attending the trade fair, besides doing a little business, was in large part (in the case of Chinese internationals) to take advantage of an opportunity to go home and visit relatives. There were some who wanted to return to China to discuss the problem of agency: it is not likely that the percentage of Burmese businessmen was very high at this session, due to the fact that Burma’s commodities are monopolized by state and joint venture companies, businessmen operate within a limited capacity.”

For Burmese businessmen, the trade fair mainly served to “announce our export goods and expand our influence.” The Burmese government body representatives stressed improving relations, facilitating the development of future accounts, and the need for licensed Burmese businessmen to lose no time making more exchanges.

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