CIMB-CARI Myanmar Breakfast Meeting
10 July 2012 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
CARI and CIMB associates had the privilege of meeting several Myanmar delegates at a small group session over breakfast to learn more about the country’s business and economic developments.
Among the speakers present:
Ye Min Aung
Executive committee member, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Ko Ko Lay
Deputy Director, Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce
Dr U Tin Htut
Rector, Yezin Agricultural University
Dr Larry Wong
Program Director, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia
The financial sector is one of Myanmar’s weakest area and the government is in talks with a number of foreign banks, including those from Malaysia and Singapore to iron out its banking and financial policies, said Ye Min Aung, executive committee member of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, at a breakfast roundtable organised by CIMB and CARI on 10 July 2012.
Myanmar’s financial liberalisation will start with reforming the central bank, said Ye Min. That, he added, would be followed by offering foreign-owned banks limited operations. The government, he explained, was currently encouraging microfinancing in rural sectors.
For trade in services overall, according to Ko Ko Lay, Deputy Director at the Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, the government would focus on privatising state-owned enterprises starting from telecommunications and banking. As for the skyrocketing property prices in Yangon, Ye Min explained that with the absence of a capital market, cash-rich Myanmar residents such as gem traders invested heavily in property.
Myanmar’s geo-strategic advantage – water security
Myanmar’s Irrawaddy and Sittaung rivers originate from within the country thus ensuring a steady supply of water for food and energy supply, noted Larry Wong, Program Director at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.
The Irrawady, which originates from Kachin state, is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway. A significant amount of goods are transported by the river. Rice produced in the Irrawaddy Delta is irrigated by the river.