Myanmar Monitor


Photo credit: The Myanmar Times

Economy, Investment and Trade

Gold traders caution government to weigh all aspects before deciding on tax rates
(22 February 2018) Following the liberalisation of gold trade to allow free movement of gold in and out of Myanmar, Myanmar Gold Traders Association urged the government to carefully weigh each segment of the gold supply chain to determine the appropriate tax to avoid a repeat of the gold metal tax debacle in 2017. Prior to the official announcement, industry insiders speculate that the government may impose a 15 percent tax on gold import and no tax on gold export. In May 2017, the Myanmar Inland Revenue Department (IRD) announced 1 percent commercial tax and 5 percent tax on the sale of gold jewellery and gold bars. The 5 percent gold tax had sparked massive protest as many gold firms were driven into debts. The gold metal tax was withdrawn three months later.
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Trade volume is expected to exceed government target
(22 February 2018) Myanmar trade volume will exceed the target of US$29 billion as it has surpassed US$28 billion during the 10 months of the 2017-18 financial year. From April to the first week of February, the export and import volume have reached US$12 billion and US$16 billion respectively. Export has increased in all five major sectors compared to last year and reached US$2,178 million. Agricultural products and industrial products are major exports. Myanmar Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said that it will support businesses to secure new foreign market.
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Trade associations suggest direct imports and new infrastructure to lower costs of fuel import
(26 February 2018) To reduce fuel price for domestic users over the long term, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association (MPTA) have suggested to Myanmar government to bypass Singapore and directly import oil from the oil exporting countries in Asia. This move will require terminal facilities that are able to handle major shipments. According to Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE), this approach would save the country US$20 per tonne of fuel and that translates to total savings of US$12 million per month.
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Yangon receives 70 percent of Myanmar foreign investment
(24 February 2018) According to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA), about 70 percent of total foreign investment flowing into Myanmar comes through the Yangon region. Up until the first week of February of the 2017-18 financial year, a total of 195 foreign investments worth US$4.42 billion were approved while the overall investment exceeded US$5.4 billion. Most of the foreign investments to Myanmar come from Singapore, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.
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State-owned insurer sees benefits to allow foreign insurers to operate in Myanmar
(23 February 2018) Myanmar Insurance, the state-owned insurance company said foreign insurance firms will bring investment, technology as well as expertise to the country, and partnerships between local and foreign insurance companies will help improve the insurance industry. According to earlier report, Myanmar government may permit major foreign insurance companies to operate in special economic zones. Established last year, the Myanmar Insurance Business Supervision Committee has issued operating licences to 14 foreign insurance companies from Canada, Singapore, America, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Germany. So far 12 local insurance companies are permitted to operate. In Myanmar, the insurance services sector only contributes about 0.07 percent to Myanmar income, and only 86 out of 1,000 people are covered by insurance.
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