‘Myanmar open for trade and investment’ | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

‘Myanmar open for trade and investment’

Myanmar is open for trade and investment with any country, with new legislation facilitating it, Ambassador to Myanmar Han Thu told a forum in Colombo last week. It was organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

He said that Myanmar offers a host of tax concessions (including tax holidays ranging from three to seven years), for foreign companies which set up businesses there.

“We encourage companies to invest in Myanmar, which has moved from military to democratic rule. Myanmar recorded economic growth of over seven percent during the past two years and is poised for further growth in the years to come,” Thu said.

Myanmar is rich in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources. It recorded a GDP growth of US$ 56.7 billion in 2013. Foreign direct investments rose from US$ 4.8 billion to US$ 9.8 billion between 2015 and 2016. However, there has been a decline in investment in the country during the last two years.

Trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka stood at US$ 80 million last year and around US$ 78 million in the previous year. However, the balance of trade between us, has been unfavourable to Sri Lanka.

“There are many import and export opportunities between Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Both countries share similarities in culture and religion and could share know-how on agriculture,” Thu said adding that many Sri Lankan companies are already in Myanmar which is a sign that there are opportunities to develop trade further between the two countries.

He said with the changes in legislation a foreign company can set up operations within just two to three months. The government officials are cordial and helpful. No foreign company has left Myanmar. We will improve freight and travel links between the two countries.

“Visa on arrival is possible for businessmen. However, this possibility needs to be discussed further,” the ambassador said.

Transportation, infrastructure, communication, real estate, hotels, tourism, livestock and fisheries, agriculture, professional services and mining are some of the major sectors with scope for investment in Myanmar which comprises three economic zones in which investments could be made.

Asia accounts for the major share of investment made in Myanmar, of which Singapore and China are the leading investors.

Tea, nutmeg, used tyres, paints, apparel and clothing, cotton fabrics, boards, panels, consoles, precious and semi precious stones, medicaments are some of Sri Lanka’s exports to Myanmar while natural gas, petroleum, petroleum products, tin, tungsten, zinc, coal, copper, lead and cement, beans, teak, fish, rice, rubber, clothing/garments, jade and gems are some of the major imports from Myanmar to Sri Lanka.