US announces solar-energy deal with Myanmar

U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report Overnight Finance: Trump hits China on currency manipulation, countering Treasury | Trump taps two for Fed board | Tax deadline revives fight over GOP overhaul | Justices set to hear online sales tax case Froman joins Mastercard to oversee global business expansion MORE announced on Thursday the first-ever solar energy project in Myanmar's Mandalay region, which is expected to increase power generation by upward of 12 percent.

Froman said the project, which is slated for completion in 2016, is expected to increase the nation's stable energy capacity and improve its ability to attract investment to help its economy grow. 

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"Efforts like these support the ambitious definition of development that is at the heart of President Obama’s trade agenda,” Froman said during a ceremony in Myanmar.

“By promoting trade and investment, we are unlocking even more opportunities for workers and businesses in both countries that promote not only higher incomes at home and around the world, but also driving sustainable development.”

In a separate joint statement, the two nations said they have agreed to discuss ways to improve Myanmar's labor rights. They intend to announce a detailed plan at the next Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) leaders meeting in November.

The $480 million solar-energy deal between U.S.-based ACO Investment Group and the Burma Ministry of Electric Power, paves the way for developing two 150 megawatt solar energy plants.

The renewable energy project is designed to bring much-needed power to Burma’s national grid and complement its reliance on hydropower, especially during the dry season.

The investment is one of the largest by a U.S. company in the country since the easing of sanctions.