Myanmar Monitor


Photo credit: Frontier Myanmar

Economy, Investment and Trade

Myanmar allows foreign firms to invest in wholesale and retail trade
(14 May 2018) Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce will open its wholesale and retail trading sector to foreign companies. Notification 25/2018 allows companies and joint ventures from other nations to trade any commodity produced in Myanmar or imported from overseas. In the past, overseas traders were reduced to dealing with fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, agricultural equipment, hospital appliances and construction materials. The ministry stated that the decision to open the market is to ensure consumers have more choices and pay less due to competition between local and international companies. The directive, which was released on 9 May 2018, contains several requirements, including a minimum capital requirement of US$5 million for foreign-based wholesaler and US$3 million for overseas retailers, excluding the value of land rental. For joint ventures, wholesale traders must give at least 20 percent share to a local partner and minimum US$2 million in capital, while joint-venture retailers are required to have at least US$700,000. There will be no capital requirements for local wholesale and retail traders.
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Rakhine government is the majority stakeholder of Maung Daw Economic Zone
(10 May 2018) The Rakhine State government will hold 65 percent stake in the construction of Maung Daw (Kanying Chaung) Economic Zone, while Kanying Chaung Economic Development Company, a joint venture between two Myanmar based firms, hold the remaining 35 percent. The administration and the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the economic zone project, which will be built along the Rakhine State border. The project started in 2017 and will be developed over three stages. So far, a total of US$1.62 million (K2,200 million) has been issued to stage 1. Around 50 acres of land will be constructed during the project’s first stage and will be increased each year to reach 100 acres in the second stage and 200 acres in the final stage. The zone is intended to create job opportunities, improve the economic state of Rakhine and gain regional stability in the future.
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Yangon looks for world recognition through international-standard exhibition halls
(14 May 2018) Yangon’s will increase its endeavour to enhance tourism and encourage investments to improve its image in the eyes of the world. The construction of new MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibition) venues similar to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre or the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will help Yangon exhibit domestically-produced goods and services. Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said the bad international press on the Rakhine issue has affected some industries in the country, especially tourism. He said to address that problem, the state will look to building modern, international-standard exhibition halls.
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Yangon lays out economic visions for city’s development
(10 May 2018) Yangon will focus economic growth in 2018 and to do so, the city has laid out a five-point vision for urban development. Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein pledged to open up more investment opportunities in industry, trade and logistics, transportation, energy and sustainable urban development. Some projects that are being developed in the region include a new deep-sea port and special economic zone; new industrial zones in the city’s rural areas and improving power supply, infrastructure, waste management, transport system and city expansion. For years, lack of clear policies, bureaucracy, limited infrastructure, constant power cuts and exorbitant land prices have hampered Yangon’s business opportunities but U Phyo Min Thein said those challenges were investment opportunities in themselves. However, his administration will minimise red tape when it comes to trade and investment in the city.
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Foreign Affairs

India intensifies efforts to strengthen ties with Myanmar
(15 May 2018) India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Myanmar was more than just a visit as the country looks to accelerate implementation of agreements signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar in 2017. One project India wishes to accelerate is the execution of the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, which will ease trade of goods among the three nations, as well as other countries in the region. During her visit, seven agreements were also signed with Myanmar’s administration, including a border agreement which would allow people from both nations to travel across the border with passports and visas for accessing health, education services, pilgrimage and tourism. In 2014, Narendra Modi changed India’s approach from ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’ during ASEAN-India summit in Myanmar. The country wants to strengthen its ties with ASEAN as it looks to compete with China’s economic impact in the region.
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