The Karen National Union’s armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army’s 7th Brigade based in Hpa-an District, has entered a commercial venture – a trading and tour company. for the first time in its history earlier this month.
The legally registered company is named as the Moe Ko San Travel and Tour Company Limited and Trading Company Limited and it has opened its offices at Thiriminglar Street in Myawaddy Town, Karen State.
The company’s managing director, Saw Moses, told Karen News that the company is officially registered and is owned by the KNU’s 7th Brigade.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Moses said.
“It is not possible as an individual business to get into international markets in the future. So, as for the preparation to get into international market, we try to establish the company to deal with it.”
The company will mainly start working by collaborating with travel and tours companies from Thailand, Japan and in the United States. The KNU’s company and will also run an import and export business.
Saw Moses said the company office would also act as the KNU 7th Brigade economy office to deal with national and international businesses.
“This office can be regarded as the KNU 7th Brigade economic office. The office would work in accordance with economic policy and regulations laid down by the KNU.”
A member of a Karen community-based-organization, who asked not to be named, spoke to Karen News about the KNU’s investment business.
“I think it is good if they [KNU] open a business to make money for the needs of people in the [Pa-an] district or for the soldiers in the KNLA 7th Brigade. However, benefits made by this business would only be good if they are shared with local people. The KNU have set out their economic policies and it is important that they keep to those policies. If they [KNU] follow exactly according to their policies that have been laid out, I don’t think there will be any major setback for the organization or for the Karen revolution. But if business developments brings harm to the environment or to local Karen communities, the people will definitely not accept it.”
Saw Moses said that with no guarantee of a political settlement between the Burma government and the KNU, the business would have to be carried in a systematic way to carefully monitor political development before it expanded.
The KNU company opening ceremony was attended by as many as 100 people including Colonel Paw Doh, Major Lah Moo, an in-charge of the Myawaddy Liaison Office and U AungMyint, a deputy police officer of Myawaddy District, U Aung Win Thein, a directore of the District Immigration office, and representatives from the business community.
The location of the Moe Ko San Travel &Tours Company Limited and Trading Company Limited office used to be the KNU’s Myawaddy Liaison Office and this is the first time the KNU has run a business with the official permission from the Burma government.