After ASEAN leaders agreed to support Myanmar's bid to chair the regional bloc in 2014 during the 19th ASEAN Summit, there is growing concern toward their readiness, particularly their domestic political situation. Although Burmese authorities have begun to pursue a process of political change with greater freedom and a transition toward democracy, many countries, e.g., the USA, want to see more concrete political reform in thiscountry. In addition, US Secretary of State planning to visit Myanmaron December 1, 2011, signals that US authorities turn their attention to Myanmar amid their long-standing sanctions against this country.
China's position on the diplomatic relations between USA and Myanmar should be monitored as well, since relationship between China and Myanmar has been noticeably tightened during recent years as seen in economic, trade and investment activities. Meanwhile, the China-US currency dispute continues. As a result, the stances taken by these powers that may affect Myanmar and ASEAN are now unpredictable.
However, Myanmar's ASEAN Chairmanship should have a positive effect on the Thai economy via trade and long-term investment. As being ASEAN member and a neighbor of Myanmar, Thailand should see some windfall from the political reforms there that will result in global confidence toward Myanmar and ASEAN accordingly. Meanwhile, expanded economic activities prior to their chairmanship will increase opportunities for trade and investment between us at least in short term. A windfall may be realized by businesses involved in infrastructure development and construction. Also, political changes in Myanmar and revision of their policies toward international trade should be monitored because those factors may reflect their future role in both ASEAN and the global arena.