Thai and Taiwanese factories in Myanmar have begun shutting down in anticipation of the impact of sanctions imposed by the US, the Thai News Agency reported yesterday.
In a move expected to have widespread economic consequences, US President George W. Bush signed a bill in Washington on Tuesday closing the US market to imports from Myanmar.
The Thai News Agency quoted Kiertiphong Noijaiboon, deputy president of the Federation of Thai Industries, as saying about 20 production plants in Myanmar, belonging to investors from Thailand, Taiwan and other countries, had shut down in the past two months in anticipation of the US sanctions.
The US had been a major export market for Myanmar products, particularly garments.
Of the nearly 100 foreign-owned production plants in Myanmar, 10 belong to Thai investors and most were concerned with the fabric and electronic components industries, Kiertiphong said.
He warned the sanctions could lead to a reduction in the quantity of foreign currency in Myanmar, which in turn would destabilize the country's currency, the kyat.
This could cause poverty and an influx of Myanmar nationals into Thailand, he added.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has spoken out against imposing sanctions on Myanmar.