Ampol Chartchaiyaruek of the Tak Province Chamber of Commerce said the situation in Karen State, which lies opposite of Tak province, following the recent death of General Bo Mya may offer a renewed chance for successful negotiations.

“If both groups could reach an agreement on the problems of illegal immigrants then it would help the refugee problem,” he said. Any political breakthrough could also lead the Burmese government to place fewer restrictions on products from Thailand, he said.

Ampol cited a similar situation in Muse, opposite the border with China. He said the example in Muse, where Burmese and Chinese officials jointly worked to solve disputes with the Wa ethnic group, could offer a model on which to proceed. Trade in Muse has been transformed and returned to normal.

However, an agreement may not be possible, because Burmese officials do not want to give additional power to the KNU, the most hardcore ethnic resistance group which now administers affairs within its territory.

Last year, Burmese officials increased import restrictions because, they said, there was a need to...