Yoma Bank of Myanmar has teamed up with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to facilitate the flow of trade finance between the two countries.

The deal will see ICBC – the world’s largest bank by assets – provide loans to clients in its neighbouring countries via Yoma, and will also allow the local bank to use direct remittance services with ICBC.

ICBC is the only Chinese bank to have a licence in Myanmar, but the deal represents the latest in the emerging Asian country’s efforts to participate in international trade.

Last week, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a framework agreement with the Myanmar government to expand its trade finance programme into the country. This will see the development bank offering concessional-rate trade finance lines to businesses in Myanmar through local banks, the names of which have yet to be specified.

The country has also been the focus of attention of other neighbouring countries, most notably Thailand and Singapore. Singapore recently signed an agreement to provide financial and legal advice to participants in the local trade finance sector.

Meanwhile, Thai companies have long been involved in the Dawei deep-sea port and special economic zone project in the country’s south, with an Italian-Burmese conglomerate set to invest heavily, backed by Thai lenders.

Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand’s third-largest lender, plans to be the lead arranger for loans into the multi-billion dollar project, which has been subject to a series of ownership disputes involving the Myanmar government.

The current status of Dawei’s ownership rests on a memorandum signed in Tokyo in July, through which the Japanese, Thai and local governments will all take an equal stake in the Dawei SEZ Development Co, established to manage the project.