Myanmar Monitor


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Economy, Investment and Trade

China allows opening of new bank accounts to assist border trade
(27 June 2017) China will accept the opening of new bank accounts for border trading by Myanmar businesses despite the closure of many accounts due to suspected illegal activities. With the opening of new accounts by Myanmar merchants, trade is expected to resume normal. Permanent Secretary of the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce Dr Tan Myint said that both countries will try to prevent trade flows from decreasing through mutual agreements but if it does stop, Myanmar will export rice to Africa and European markets instead.
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India and Myanmar discuss collaboration to boost trade
(28 June 2017) At the sixth India Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC), India sought to collaborate with Myanmar to enhance road, sea and air connectivity to increase bilateral trade. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that bilateral trade between the countries has a large untapped potential. Both parties also agreed that a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Reserve Bank of India and the central bank of Myanmar on currency exchange rate fixation needs to be expedited. India plans for greater economic integration with the rest of Asia through its ‘Act East’ Policy and Myanmar is seen as India’s link to the rest of Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
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AMRO warns Myanmar of economic risk
(3 July 2017) ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) warned Myanmar of significant economic risks that could jeopardise the nation’s favourable future despite its expected recovery in 2017. According to AMRO’s 2017 Annual Consultation Report on Myanmar, the fiscal deficit for FY2016-2017 is expected to increase to 4.8% of GDP due to falling revenues and rising expenditures while inflation is expected to stabilise around 6.2% for 2017. AMRO’s group head and economist Chaipat Poonpatpibul said the reduction of growth is due to a weak agriculture sector, a slowing property and construction sector, slow demand from trading partners and lower commodity prices. He urged authorities to safeguard macroeconomic stability and take on deeper reforms to secure sustainable growth in the medium term.
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Need for Myanmar to show more progress
(29 June 2017) The government of Myanmar needs to streamline its bureaucracy and provide more transparency in order for the country to grow. According to the chair of Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) Simon Tay at the 2nd ASEAN-Myanmar Forum, Myanmar is competing not only with other ASEAN countries but also countries such as Sri Lanka to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) hence it is essential for them to make progress in this area in the next 12 months. He emphasised that the Myanmar government needs to start implementing projects or else foreign investors will go elsewhere. He added that there is also a need to have a detailed guideline on which sectors Myanmar wants to open up to foreign investors.
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Myanmar announces 10 priority areas
(29 June 2017) Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) announced 10 areas which have been prioritised for investment by local and foreign entrepreneurs. The areas include agriculture, livestock and fishery, export promotion, import substitution, power, logistics, education, health care, affordable housing construction and establishment of industrial estates. As of March 2017, cumulative total foreign investment in Myanmar since 1988 has reached US$70.35 billion from 1246 projects while domestic investment in the same period stood at US$9.69 billion. Myanmar expects over US$6 billion of annual foreign investment in fiscal year 2017-18 which began in April.
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