President U Thein Sein on May 17 left Myanmar for his official visit to the United States.

As scheduled, the Myanmar leader will hold talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama at the White House on May 20.

During the talks, the two sides will discuss existing challenges to building a democracy in this Southeast Asian nation, solving current tensions among ethnic groups, and bringing economic opportunity to the Myanmar people as well as how the US can assist this process.

“President Thein Sein’s visit underscores President Obama’s commitment to supporting and assisting those governments that make the important decision to embrace reform, and highlights the dedication of the US to helping the Burmese people realise the full potential of their extraordinary country” , said the White House in a press release on May 15.

During the first trip to Washington by a Myanmar President in 47 years, the two sides expect to sign several agreements on trade and investment.

According to the Myanmar Government’s official statistics, bilateral trade between Myanmar and the US reached nearly 191 million USD in 2012, of which Myanmar ’s exports were only 16.5 million USD.

The US now has 15 projects in Myanmar with a total investment of over 243 million USD, ranking ninth among the latter’s foreign investors.-VNA