Thailand's Export-Import Bank is defending a controversial loan to Burma, saying the transaction has benefited Thai companies as well as strengthened ties between the two nations.
The president of the bank, Apichai Boontherawara, said Tuesday the loan of more than 100 million dollars made two years ago, has helped Burma purchase capital goods for roads and infrastructure development.
The deal is contingent on Burma using Thai companies for some services.
The bank president said the loan has generated employment and revenue for 16 Thai companies, including machinery exporters, construction contractors, and petrochemical firms.
The group Campaign for Popular Democracy called for full disclosure of the terms of the loan after Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra made a short, unannounced trip to Burma last week. Critics said he may have had personal business motives for making the trip.