Myanmar Update: Developments in Myanmar's Peace Process

Myanmar Update | June 9, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon, Jack Myint, Cameron Barkan
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Sept. 4-8: Business Mission to the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM)

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Despite Minor Progress, No End in Sight for Myanmar’s Peace Process

On May 29, the latest round of peace talks between the Myanmar government and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) concluded after a six-day conference in Nay Pyi Taw. No groundbreaking agreement was reached but the increased number of EAOs participating in the conference signals a step in the right direction for Myanmar’s ongoing peace process. In previous conferences, the government had held firm to its premise that no EAO can partake in the peace talks without first signing the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). This led to a roadblock in the peace dialogue and continued, and in some cases even escalated, the fighting between Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) forces and EAOs, particularly in Northern Kachin, Northeastern Shan, and Western Rakhine regions. An interesting development in the lead-up to this latest round of talks was China playing a key role in convincing a bloc of some major EAOs led by the United Wa State Party to partake in the conference. Having 15 of 21 EAOs present at the conference – eight that have signed the NCA and the seven in the Wa-led bloc – represented a symbolic win for the government. During the discussions, 37 of the 45 principles tabled were signed, the most significant of which was the provision that Myanmar be a federal democracy with states having their own constitution and self-governance within the federal system. However, one sticking point was the decision that individual deals on state constitutions and self-determination will not be discussed until all negotiating EAOs first pledge non-secession. This mandate was further emphasized by Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who outright claimed that not agreeing to non-secession is a deal breaker for negotiations to continue. This demand was rejected by the EAOs, many of whom did not appreciate the quid pro quo nature that their states’ rights will only be discussed if they forgo the possibility of secession. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered an optimistic address at the conference’s closing, urging once again for EAOs to agree to a ceasefire, be open and frank with the government regarding their reservations, and keep the discussions going until a tangible deal is reached. The date of the next round of peace talks is yet to be set.

Potential for PPPs High in Myanmar’s Transportation Sector

International law firm Baker & McKenzie and the British Chamber of Commerce recently held a conference in Yangon on developing Myanmar’s transport infrastructure. In a statement at the conference, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communication U Kyaw Myo highlighted that transport infrastructure development is key to improving trade and employment. As such, the Deputy Minister encouraged more foreign investment in Myanmar’s transportation sector as a means to reach the government’s goal of fully implementing the 2014 National Transportation Plan, which calls for ten major transport corridors and a possible expansion of access from Yangon Airport to the city center. To learn more about the National Transportation Plan, please click here. Speakers at the conference singled out the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model as the ideal approach to bolster infrastructure projects, pointing to past successes such as the efficient operation of the Yangon Bus Public Company (YBPC) and the timely construction of Yangon and Mandalay international airports in collaboration with domestic private companies. As for future PPP opportunities, one area that was emphasized at the conference included the need to upgrade Myanmar’s railways. Given the mismanagement of traffic and unreliability of the bus systems in Myanmar’s commercial hubs, an increasing number of commuters are turning to circular trains for daily transportation. In that regard, the government is looking to PPPs for expanding its reach by constructing new routes and reducing pollution by switching from fuel to electric powered trains.

Import of Seeds, Fertilizers, Hospital Equipment, and Building Materials by Foreign Businesses Soon to be Permitted

The import of seeds, fertilizers, hospital equipment, and building materials by foreign businesses will soon be permitted for the first time in Myanmar, according to a Ministry of Commerce official. This policy change, upon implementation, will replace a 2015 regulation that only allows joint ventures between foreign and local firms to import the aforementioned products. This comes as part of the Myanmar government's efforts to tackle low quality products, particularly in the agriculture and construction sectors, flooding the Myanmar market due to lax inspections and increased smuggling activities in border areas. The Council will continue to monitor progress on this development.
 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone location speculated
Myanmar weighs infrastructure, strategic ties to China
Can our neighbours help revive the economy? | Eleven Myanmar
Myanmar, having warmed to the West, turns to China again
Myanmar could be game changer for BRI
Foreign firms allowed to import agricultural, medical and construction materials
China Seeks Up to 85 Percent Stake in Strategic Port in Myanmar
China's deepening imprint on Myanmar in Mandalay
A new Myanmar oil pipeline helps China dodge US influence-
Turning the page in Myanmar-China Relations
Five things you should know about China-backed port in Myanmar

National Affairs
Myanmar army plane with over 100 on board missing after losing communication
The Future of Asia 2017: Myanmar 'making progress' on peace talks, Rohingya, China ties-
Army Chief meets Suu Kyi, military leaders in Myanmar
Myanmar peace talks end with no deal on federal plan
Secession fears cloud Myanmar peace talks: government
‘Panghsang Allies’ to meet Daw Suu on Panglong sidelines
KNU promises to promote the nationwide ceasefire agreement - Burma News International
Myanmar's Suu Kyi seeks to revive peace process with fresh talks
2nd LD: Aung San Suu Kyi urges joint efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Myanmar - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Myanmar's highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group
Govt Invites Non-NCA Signatories to Panglong as ‘Special Guests’

Market Development
Uber only hiring government-accredited taxi drivers in Myanmar
Unilever thinks Myanmar could be the next Vietnam, announces joint venture

ASEAN
Myanmar’s trade turnover with ASEAN countries hits 9.6 billion USD

Customs
Import and Export Procedures in Myanmar – Best Practices
China and Myanmar to set up Border Economic Cooperation Zone
Myanmar eases import rules for foreigners

Defense & Security
Ethnic States Win Right to Draft Constitutions

Economics
Myanmar investment forum to seek increased foreign investment
Finance Minister Predicts ‘Take Off’ for Myanmar Economy 
Managing great expectations of the new Myanmar
Where Myanmar’s real estate sector will really shine
Transport experts encourage Myanmar to adopt PPP model
UOB takes credit for attracting investment to Myanmar
Oil, gas tops Myanmar's foreign investment
SMEs need to demonstrate agility and responsiveness to change: Minister | Eleven Myanmar
Time to fix the economy with action, not words
Osaka business group to help lure firms to Japan-backed economic zone in Myanmar
Myanmar still talk of the town at WEF
World Bank US$200m loan to develop macroeconomic stability and fiscal resilience
Seizing the FDI opportunities
How microfinance can help Myanmar meet its major funding needs-
Economy to Grow by Seven Percent This Fiscal Year, Observer Group Predicts

Energy
Myanmar gov’t working on national climate change policy
Gas-fired plant in Mandalay to operate with BOT agreement
QTC to build solar farm in Myanmar
Myanmar working on national climate change policy
Pipelines will supply oil and gas to Myanmar for domestic consumption
Myanmar Offshore Supply Base Development: Further Chaos or Progress?
Coal for electricity in Myanmar a long way off?
Puma Energy Asia Sun aims to distribute petroleum in Myanmar - ET EnergyWorld
Residents yet to get Myanmar-China pipeline compensation
Trafigura-backed Puma Energy eyes Myanmar expansion
CNPC loads first crude oil into Myanmar-China pipeline
Myanmar blackouts recall darker days
Tankers begin to offload oil through China-Myanmar pipeline bypassing Singapore altogether

Financial Services
Myanmar readies reforms to liberalize insurance market
Mobile money flourishing in Myanmar
Singapore strengthens economic ties with Myanmar
Thilawa SEZ zone B open to investors soon
SCB’s aim remains high in Myanmar 
SMEs and businesses in need of access to foreign bank services
Weather index-based insurance project to cover crop damage
A modern credit bureau will help Myanmar’s MSMEs
Wing ready to swoop into Myanmar
Myanmar’s First Private Bank to digitalize operations with Misys
Myanmar heads for liberalizing all types of insurance services

Food & Agriculture
Myanmar drafting new development strategy for agriculture sector
F2F Training Enables Myanmar Farmers to Increase Production and Access New Markets –
Rejoining Asia’s rice bowls
Agricultural development strategy to boost productivity
Myanmar plans agricultural development strategy - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Agro ministry urges more seed production by private sector
K64.5b agri loans in Mandalay
Eastern states’ agro output expected to grow under ESAP
Increasing productivity to drive competitive dairy industry in Myanmar

Health & Life Sciences
Hluttaw wants national health insurance system
Myanmar to establish smoke-free zones in six regions
Improving Education Reform in Myanmar
Opportunity knocks in Myanmar health market
Unilever and EAC in Myanmar joint venture
Government urged to establish national health insurance system
More rural health centers to emerge in Myanmar next year - Xinhua | English.news.cn
The fight against fake drugs
Myanmar govt to enact measures to prevent dengue epidemic | Yangon
State-owned pharma firm plans for upgrade
Ministry allocated $380 million to anti-AIDS project
UNAIDS lauds launch of new Myanmar HIV strategic plan, calls for more investment

ICT
Big 4G push to drive Myanmar's smartphone use-
Myanmar to receive first foreign coaching on communications | Eleven Myanmar
Myanmar 1.8GHz spectrum costs operators $80M each
The digital revolution: from Mandalay to Manchester
Foreign investment booms in Myanmar telecoms-

Infrastructure
Investor-friendly environment and human capital essential for Myanmar’s success in the Belt and Road Initiative
Closing the infrastructure gap through blended finance
Myanmar sends mixed message to foreign investors-
India Myanmar Thailand highway: Project is likely to start from next month, says Nitin Gadkari
New service promises faster transits from Myanmar to Japan and China
Tanintharyi tourism committee seeks IFC infrastructure support
Nylon-tar roads throughout Myanmar by 2030

Legislation
Proposed gemstone legislation risks leaving flawed system intact
MIC now mandated to exclude irresponsible investors
Parliament to re-discuss taxation on high-purity gold | Eleven Myanmar
36 investment proposals permitted under two old laws
Foreign business hails greater clarity in new investment law

Manufacturing
Myanmar takes measures to control price manipulation in industrial zones
Unilever strikes deal with rival in bet on Myanmar
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone location speculated The Myanmar Times 6th Jun 2017
Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Bejing, told the Chinese state-run Global Times that the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone was likely to be established at the border between Yunnan province and Kachin State.

Myanmar weighs infrastructure, strategic ties to China Financial Times 31st May 2017
Xi Jinping, China’s president, staged an impressive show for Asean leaders attending his summit in Beijing this month. The assembled politicians received the intended message loud and clear — that their countries stand to benefit from the One Belt One Road initiative every bit as much as China.

Can our neighbours help revive the economy? | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 30th May 2017
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and his team made the right move last week in striking an agreement with Laos on a five-year joint-development master plan as strategic partners, but the arrangement’s tardiness will make it more difficult to implement. 

Myanmar, having warmed to the West, turns to China again Washington Post 27th May 2017
Myanmar was supposed to turn away from China and toward the West when the United States helped the Southeast Asian country make the transition to a civilian government after five decades of military rule.

Myanmar could be game changer for BRI The Myanmar Times 24th May 2017
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is being boycotted by India, could place Myanmar – located between these two big countries – into an awkward situation. But Myanmar could greatly benefit from the initiative and could be the game changer if it is capable of handling and controlling the situation, Dr Hla Soe Nyunt, chairman of Mandalay University’s Political Science Alumni Association, told The Myanmar Times.

Foreign firms allowed to import agricultural, medical and construction materials The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
The import of seeds, fertilisers, hospital equipment and building materials by foreign businesses will soon be permitted for the first time, U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary from Ministry of Commerce, told The Myanmar Times.

China Seeks Up to 85 Percent Stake in Strategic Port in Myanmar Myanmar Business Today 23rd May 2017
China is looking to take a stake of up to 85 percent in a strategically important sea port in Myanmar, ac­cording to documents re­viewed by Reuters, in a move that could heighten tensions over China's growing economic clout in the country.

China's deepening imprint on Myanmar in Mandalay The Straits Times 16th May 2017
In a dusty corner of Mandalay, rows of Chinese nationals sit impassively by tables lined with white cloth on a betel-splattered sidewalk. Burmese traders crowd before them, holding up chunks of raw jade or sacks of bangles in a bid to interest them. The prospective buyers scrutinise the offerings, rejecting some with a flick of their finger. This is a buyer's market, and a symbol of what many locals see as the kind of relationship Myanmar has with its powerful northern neighbour. For decades, China was the main economic outlet for a Myanmar squeezed by Western sanctions, making it the largest cumulative investor in one of Asean's poorest countries. While Myanmar's transition from military to civilian rule is now opening the door to rival prospectors, China's imprint is deepening in Mandalay.

A new Myanmar oil pipeline helps China dodge US influence- Nikkei Asian Review 15th May 2017
China has taken a major step forward in its quest for energy security by opening an oil pipeline through Myanmar, a cross-border project that also underscores the two countries' increasingly close ties. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Myanmar counterpart, Htin Kyaw, agreed on April 10 to activate the oil pipeline, which stretches roughly 770km from Kyaukpyu, a port city in western Myanmar, to the Chinese border. The project -- the crown jewel among the economic cooperation agreements the pair signed during talks in Beijing -- should allow oil-hungry China to reduce its reliance on shipments through sea lanes where the U.S. wields significant influence.

Turning the page in Myanmar-China Relations Mizzima 10th May 2017
Myanmar and Chinese delegates are currently meeting for the 1st Myanmar-China Think Tank Dialogue in Dehong, China. The following is the presentation given by Mizzima Editor-in-Chief Soe Myint on Myanmar-China relations. I would like to thank the organizers for the opportunity to join you all here today. As we gather, I believe we are already glimpsing the onset of a new era in the relationship between Myanmar and China. And while exciting, careful attention must be paid by both sides to ensure that the relationship develops in a win-win manner for both Myanmar and China. From the perspective of Myanmar, this requires moving away from an historic defensive approach and determining how to make the best possible use of the relationship.

Five things you should know about China-backed port in Myanmar South China Morning Post 9th May 2017
China is looking to take a stake of up to 85 percent in a strategically important sea port in Myanmar as part of its “Belt and Road” international trade and infrastructure plan, according to a media report. China is hoping concessions will be made on projects including Kyauk Pyu port if it abandons the Myitsone dam scheme in Myanmar, according to the Reuters news agency. The bid to take a higher stake than originally planned in the port project may attract controversy in Myanmar at a time when China is attempting to boost its economic dominance in the country.

National Affairs

Myanmar army plane with over 100 on board missing after losing communication Reuters 7th Jun 2017
The Chinese-made Y-8-200F transport plane left the coastal town of Myeik at 1:06 p.m (0636 GMT) heading north to Myanmar's largest city of Yangon on a regular weekly flight that visits several coastal towns, officials said.

The Future of Asia 2017: Myanmar 'making progress' on peace talks, Rohingya, China ties- Nikkei Asian Review 6th Jun 2017
Myanmar has made significant progress on peace negotiations with ethnic armed groups, and is addressing the problems of the Rohingya Muslim minority, Thaung Tun, the country's national security advisor, told the Nikkei Asian Review on Monday.

Army Chief meets Suu Kyi, military leaders in Myanmar The Economic Times 30th May 2017
Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on a four-day visit to Myanmar today met the country's iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and held talks with the top military leadership to boost defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

Myanmar peace talks end with no deal on federal plan Channel NewsAsia 30th May 2017
A peace conference to end decades of ethnic conflict in Myanmar concluded on Monday (May 29) without reaching a major agreement between the government and rebels, state-run TV reported, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

Secession fears cloud Myanmar peace talks: government Mizzima 29th May 2017
Talks to end decades of bitter civil war in Myanmar have faltered, a government spokesman warned Sunday, blaming ethnic rebel demands for greater autonomy, which the military fears could break the country up.

‘Panghsang Allies’ to meet Daw Suu on Panglong sidelines Frontier Myanmar 25th May 2017
Representatives from a bloc of ethnic armed groups excluded from or declining to participate in previous peace forums have confirmed they will meet with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, as the 21st Century Panglong peace conference continues in Nay Pyi Taw.

KNU promises to promote the nationwide ceasefire agreement - Burma News International Burma News International 24th May 2017
The Karen National Union (KNU) has announced it will help lobby ethnic leaders to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement. Members of the KNU Central Standing Committee said on May 21 that they will proactively engage other ethnic armed organizations on the issue.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi seeks to revive peace process with fresh talks Channel NewsAsia 24th May 2017
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi opened a new round of talks with some of the country's myriad ethnic groups on Wednesday, looking to revive a stuttering peace process after a tough first year in power that saw the worst fighting with rebels in years.

2nd LD: Aung San Suu Kyi urges joint efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Myanmar - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 24th May 2017
State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday called for taking time and perseverance for the government, the armed forces, ethic armed groups and political parties to reach consensus with understanding and trust on the path of national reconciliation.

Myanmar's highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group Reuters UK 23rd May 2017
The radical group known by its Burmese initials Ma Ba Tha was declared illegal and "no person or organisation" is allowed to use its name, according to a statement issued by the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the country's highest Buddhist authority.

Govt Invites Non-NCA Signatories to Panglong as ‘Special Guests’ The Irrawaddy 22nd May 2017
The government invited nine ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) that have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) to the upcoming Union Peace Conference as “special guests,” The Irrawaddy has learned.

Market Development

Uber only hiring government-accredited taxi drivers in Myanmar The Straits Times 11th May 2017
Uber Technologies is only hiring government-accredited taxi drivers in Myanmar, a regional executive said, a move that allows it to avoid the legal hurdles that have dogged it across Asia in one of the region's last frontier markets. This partnership with local taxi drivers and their unions is unique to Myanmar, Sam Bool, Uber's expansion general manager for South East Asia, told Reuters as services began on Thursday (May 11) in the small but potentially lucrative market where Southeast Asian rival Grab Taxi and local service providers are already going strong. "Having the government support from day one is pretty powerful," Bool said. "Drivers know we are fully compliant with existing regulations. That does grease the wheels."

Unilever thinks Myanmar could be the next Vietnam, announces joint venture CNBC 4th May 2017
Unilever is entering a joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial (EAC) Ltd. in Myanmar in an effort to hedge a bigger foothold in the country, which boasts a population of approximately 54 million. The joint venture, which combines entities with combined annual sales of more than €100 million, will include manufacturing, marketing and distribution of home and personal care products in Myanmar.

ASEAN

Myanmar’s trade turnover with ASEAN countries hits 9.6 billion USD Vietnam Plus News 23rd May 2017
Hanoi (VNA) – Myanmar’s trade turnover with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hit 9.6 billion USD in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which ended in March.

Customs

Import and Export Procedures in Myanmar – Best Practices ASEAN Business News 6th Jun 2017
As Myanmar continues to liberalize its regulatory landscape, new opportunities are emerging for cross-border trade. Myanmar borders India and China – the world’s most populous countries – and is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Political reforms in Myanmar has spurred world powers to lift trade sanctions against the South East Asian nation formerly called Burma.

China and Myanmar to set up Border Economic Cooperation Zone The Myanmar Times 24th May 2017
A JOINT-COMMITTEE for the establishment of China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone would be formed within the year in a bid to boost border trade between the two countries, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Myanmar eases import rules for foreigners Bangkok Post 18th May 2017
The import of seeds, fertilisers, hospital equipment and building materials by foreign businesses will soon be permitted for the first time, Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary to the Commerce Ministry said. Procedures to permit non-Myanmar firms to trade agricultural products and building materials have been ongoing, and negotiations with related ministries are currently underway to ease the restrictions, he added. When those restrictions are lifted, the local market will become more competitive as foreign companies penetrate the market. Market competition will drive the improvement of quality of products.

Defense & Security

Ethnic States Win Right to Draft Constitutions The Irrawaddy 12th May 2017
Burma’s seven ethnic states have won the right to draft their own constitutions, an unprecedented breakthrough in their fight for equality and self-determination, according to the leader of an armed ethnic group.

Economics

Myanmar investment forum to seek increased foreign investment Xinhua 7th Jun 2017
An investment forum is underway in Myanmar's Nay Pyi taw to seek ways to attract increased foreign investment into the country for the development of its economy and trade. The two-day Myanmar Investment Forum-2017, which began on Tuesday, is hosted by the Myanmar Investors Development Association (MIDA). The forum is aimed at providing investors with the ease of doing business in Myanmar, Vice President U Myint Swe told the opening session, stressing that foreign direct investment has become the main driver to promote the inflow of much-needed foreign capital in the country as it relies on foreign capital and trade for socio-economic development.

Finance Minister Predicts ‘Take Off’ for Myanmar Economy  The Irrawaddy 6th Jun 2017
The finance minister attempted to reassure investors that Burma’s economy is on a promising trajectory at a trade conference on Tuesday, despite business owners’ concerns that the economy has become tepid.

Managing great expectations of the new Myanmar The Myanmar Times 5th Jun 2017
Expectations for Myanmar have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Sky-high expectations followed the National League of Democracy’s (NLD) victory at the 2015 elections, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. But now these have given way to a somewhat downcast outlook.

Where Myanmar’s real estate sector will really shine Property Report 5th Jun 2017
It’s rental season in the frontier market With its high upfront fees, Yangon’s active rental market could be incentive enough for investors to purchase properties in Myanmar.

Transport experts encourage Myanmar to adopt PPP model The Myanmar Times 30th May 2017
AS Myanmar and its cities are developing the transport infrastructure, experts have advocated the adoption of the public-private partnership (PPP) model to speed up the development, according to a transport conference last week.

UOB takes credit for attracting investment to Myanmar The Nation 25th May 2017
United Overseas Bank (UOB) says it has helped to attract more than US$600 million (Bt20.5 billion) worth of investment into Myanmar since it opened its Yangon branch in May 2015. Most of the investment has come from multinational and regional companies based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. UOB has provided corporate loans and other financial solutions such as project financing, cash management and supply-chain financing to companies mainly from the manufacturing, hospitality and commercial real-estate industries.

Oil, gas tops Myanmar's foreign investment Xinhua 25th May 2017
Foreign Direct Investment in Myanmar's oil and gas sector topped with 22.41 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of April since late 1988, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Thursday.

SMEs need to demonstrate agility and responsiveness to change: Minister | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 22nd May 2017
Recognising the importance of unleashing the potential of SMEs, the minister said AMBD will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure a conducive environment for their development. A fast-changing environment tied with the ever-increasing digitalisation of economies across the globe means that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to adapt quickly and be more agile to capture new opportunities and widen their reach.

Time to fix the economy with action, not words The Myanmar Times 18th May 2017
Peace in Myanmar has come with a heavy price tag. A couple counts the collection for the day made at their stall in a wholesale vegetable market in Yangon. Photo - AFP Economists and business owners, while acknowledging and applauding the measures put into achieving peace and stability, say the National League for Democracy-led government has largely ignored the economy during its first year in power.

Osaka business group to help lure firms to Japan-backed economic zone in Myanmar The Japan Times 17th May 2017
The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry has agreed to help attract small and medium-size companies to the Japanese-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Yangon by establishing small rental factory spaces, the zone’s operator has announced. The OCCI, which is comprised of businesses around Osaka, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish rental factory spaces of 500 to 750 sq. meters in rental factories inside the zone, Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development said in a statement Tuesday. The 2,400-hectare economic zone already boasts nine rental factory spaces of 1,500 sq. meters, of which seven are now occupied.

Myanmar still talk of the town at WEF Frontier Myanmar 17th May 2017
DISCUSSION of the implications of China’s Belt and Road initiative dominated the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, held in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh from March 10 to 12. This is not surprising: it will likely have a huge impact on the region, but also comes with a long list of challenges and barriers to implementation. However, in the majority of sessions I attended at the forum - which was held in a grand hotel on a sandbank from which the Khmer Rouge unsuccessfully attempted to regain control of the city in the late 1980s – no country, aside from China and its multi-billion-dollar initiative, came in for as much attention as Myanmar.

World Bank US$200m loan to develop macroeconomic stability and fiscal resilience The Myanmar Times 17th May 2017
The World Bank said that at the end of May, Myanmar reforms and the country’s poverty reduction efforts and efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability will be given financial assistance. As a rapidly opening economy, Myanmar faces new challenges in sustaining macroeconomic stability. Concessional budgetary financing can support long‐term public investments and help build fiscal buffers. On April 27, the financial institution approved a US$200 million loan to the Myanmar government to support the Myanmar government’s effort to achieve sustained macroeconomic stability with improved fiscal resilience.

Seizing the FDI opportunities Frontier Myanmar 15th May 2017
ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION should be high on the agenda of Myanmar’s government. The country’s leaders must make managing Foreign Direct Investment a priority in order to attract high-quality investment in all sectors and parts of the country. If not properly managed, the inflow of FDI will merely exploit domestic low-cost labour, natural resources and transfer the profits out of Myanmar. How to attract, and benefit from, FDI is a key challenge for Myanmar in the next few years, and is closely linked to the peace process, as many of the natural resources are located in ethnic minority areas.

How microfinance can help Myanmar meet its major funding needs- Nikkei Asian Review 15th May 2017
Myanmar's economy has logged one of the fastest growth rates in the world since it opened up in 2011, but its development of channels for financing such growth has not kept pace. The stock market, which began trading in March 2016, has just four listings, and overall market capitalization is equivalent to less than 1% of the country's gross domestic product, a stark contrast to other countries in the region. For example, Singapore's total market cap -- the largest among Southeast Asia's bourses -- comes in at 238% of GDP.

Economy to Grow by Seven Percent This Fiscal Year, Observer Group Predicts The Irrawaddy 9th May 2017
Burma’s economy is predicted to grow by at least seven percent in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years after growth of six percent last fiscal year, predicted regional observer group ASEAN +3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).

Energy

Myanmar gov’t working on national climate change policy Mizzima 7th Jun 2017
Myanmar government is working towards the adoption of a national climate change policy, expecting to announce the launch of the policy soon. The policy, formulated in collaboration with civil society, private sector and experts from across all sectors, will be launched along with a new national climate change strategy and action plan, President U Htin Kyaw disclosed at a ceremony celebrating the World Environment Day in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday.

Gas-fired plant in Mandalay to operate with BOT agreement The Myanmar Times 6th Jun 2017
The biggest gas-fired power plant, with a capacity of 225 megawatts, will start operations in December this year in the Taungtha and Myingyan district in Mandalay Region, a senior official from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE), told The Myanmar Times.

QTC to build solar farm in Myanmar Bangkok Post 6th Jun 2017
QTC Energy Plc, a leading MAI-listed transformer producer, plans to develop a solar farm in Myanmar by acquiring Green Earth Power Thailand Co.

Myanmar working on national climate change policy The Financial Express 6th Jun 2017
Myanmar government is working towards the adoption of a national climate change policy, the launch of which it expects to announce soon, a media report said on Tuesday. The policy is being formulated in collaboration with civil society, private sector and experts from across all sectors, and will be launched along with a new national climate change strategy and action plan, Xinhua news agency reported.

Pipelines will supply oil and gas to Myanmar for domestic consumption The Myanmar Times 5th Jun 2017
Some two million tonnes of oil and two billion cubic metres of gas will be supplied annually for domestic use after the completion of Myanmar-China oil and gas pipelines, the South East Asia Crude Oil Pipeline Co Ltd (SEAOP) and the South East Asia Gas Pipeline Co Ltd (SEAGP) said in a statement.

Myanmar Offshore Supply Base Development: Further Chaos or Progress? Mizzima 27th May 2017
There has been a recent spate of news reports on the granting of a MIC approval to invest in an Offshore Supply Base (OSB) in Myanmar. We see two officially announced approvals located in close proximity to each other in the Ayeyarwady Region. Then there is a report of an OSB in the Mon State falling foul of the community but also getting approval. Having written extensively on the need and importance of this key piece of infrastructure to support the offshore oil and gas developments, this is welcome news that the MIC and Government are now taking the issue seriously and getting a move on. I recall addressing a Summit in Yangon in 2014 warning that to have a successful offshore oil and gas sector you need to have a local supply base that creates jobs and preserves supply chain value within the State and Union economy.

Coal for electricity in Myanmar a long way off? The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Coal from electricity using clean technology is the norm in developed countries such as America, England, Australia, Germany, Russia, Japan and China. Steam rises from the brown coal-fired power plant Niederaussem operated by RWE in Bergheim, Germany.

Puma Energy Asia Sun aims to distribute petroleum in Myanmar - ET EnergyWorld ETEnergyworld.com 16th May 2017
Puma Energy Asia Sun, a joint venture between Puma Energy and local firm Asia Sun Energy, is looking to move beyond storage services in Myanmar to include oil products distribution in the country, said a top executive. Myanmar's fuel demand is rapidly rising and the country is fast becoming a key importer in the Southeast Asia region. The company opened the country's newest and largest oil products terminal on May 6 with a storage capacity of 91,000 cubic metres in Thilawa. The terminal, which cost $92 million, is designed to hold mostly middle distillates, with 29,000 cubic metres of space for gasoil and 21,000 cubic metres for jet fuel.

Residents yet to get Myanmar-China pipeline compensation The Myanmar Times 16th May 2017
Despite the fact that the Myanmar-China pipeline has started to import oil, local residents have yet to receive the compensation due to them for damage to their crops arising from digging works on the pipeline. The Myanmar-China oil pipeline cuts through plantations and villages in the Magwe Region. (Nay Aung/The Myanmar Times) Crops had been pressed down by soil and landslides have occurred on cultivated fields near the Myanmar-China oil pipeline in the Ngape township of the Magwe Region due to extension of the oil pipeline. Aggrieved farmers said that they had not received compensation even though they have been waiting for more than five years.

Trafigura-backed Puma Energy eyes Myanmar expansion Financial Times 6th May 2017
Puma Energy, the fuel storage and petrol station business backed by Swiss commodities trading house Trafigura, wants to expand in Myanmar across a range of fuel and petroleum products after opening a $100m storage facility at the southern port of Thilawa. The new terminal, with a capacity of 91m cubic metres, opens the prospect of using Myanmar as a regional supply hub for neighbouring countries as well as expanding its business in the frontier market, Puma Energy said. Rob Jones, Puma Energy’s chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, said: “We have sized the infrastructure so it could be part of a regional hub. The focus is developing the local market — [but] we see the opportunity to use Yangon as a centrepiece for regional flow.”

CNPC loads first crude oil into Myanmar-China pipeline Reuters 3rd May 2017
Some 1,150 cubic meters per hour of crude flowed into the 770-kilometre (480 mile) pipeline from Tuesday, CNPC said in a statement on Tuesday. The move comes almost a month after the first tanker carrying 140,000 tonnes of crude started discharging into the pipeline following the official launch.

Myanmar blackouts recall darker days Financial Times 6th Jun 2017
A wave of power cuts in Myanmar has riled residents and fuelled a wider frustration in business and politics about the pace of change under Aung San Suu Kyi’s 14-month-old government. Blackouts long familiar from the days of military control have returned as the hot dry season gives way to the monsoon rains, defying official pledges to boost electricity supply in the face of climbing demand. 

Tankers begin to offload oil through China-Myanmar pipeline bypassing Singapore altogether The Independent 25th May 2017
Bloomberg reported last month (11 Apr) that the China-Myanmar 770km oil pipeline has just opened. A tanker with a capacity of 1 million barrels of crude oil, began offloading oil at Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu port on 10 Apr, before sending it through the pipeline.

Financial Services

Myanmar readies reforms to liberalize insurance market Nikkei Asian Review 8th Jun 2017
Myanmar intends to release within three months a blueprint for insurance market reforms that include allowing foreign insurers to underwrite and sell policies, the head of state-run Myanma Insurance said here Wednesday. Managing Director Sandar Oo outlined the reforms from the Ministry of Planning and Finance, which oversees Myanma Insurance, in a presentation at Myanmar Investment Forum 2017. The event held Tuesday and Wednesday in this capital city was attended by investors from countries such as China, India and Japan.

Mobile money flourishing in Myanmar Nikkei Asian Review 8th Jun 2017
For a population used to carrying wads of cash stuffed in pockets, purses and wallets, mobile money has the potential in Myanmar to dislodge paper as the main means to make payments and remittances.  Mobile money is a fintech service that enables money to be deposited and withdrawn using apps downloaded to mobile phones. Cash equivalents can be sent from a user's account to another person or business, and operators receive fees depending on the amount transferred. 

Singapore strengthens economic ties with Myanmar Singapore Business Review 8th Jun 2017
A deal will open doors for Singapore firms to explore opportunities in Myanmar. The International Enterprise Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and to open the doors for more Singapore firms to set up shop in Myanmar.

Thilawa SEZ zone B open to investors soon The Myanmar Times 5th Jun 2017
Land plots in zone B of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be put on lease shortly because of high demand from investors, despite the issue of power outages in the area, according to Takashi Yanai, president of Myanmar-Japan Thilawa Development Limited (MJTD).

SCB’s aim remains high in Myanmar  The Nation 28th May 2017
ALTHOUGH Siam Commercial Bank is yet to get a foreign-bank licence in Myanmar, it has broadened its support to banking professionals in that country, according to Kamalkant Agarwal, head of international banking at SCB.

SMEs and businesses in need of access to foreign bank services The Myanmar Times 25th May 2017
Businesses have long been calling for the government to open up the financial sector for foreign banks to operate. Doing so, they argue, will provide them wider access to capital and hence speed up the growth of local businesses.  

Weather index-based insurance project to cover crop damage The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
A weather index-based crop insurance is going to be introduced as pilot projects in Pyay township, Bago Region and Shwebo township, Sagaing Region, starting from May 8. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation deputy permanent secretary U Myo Tint Tun, the insurance scheme is to protect farmers against crop damage.

A modern credit bureau will help Myanmar’s MSMEs The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
The recent issuance of the Regulation on Credit Information Reporting System by the Central Bank of Myanmar is a major development for the financial sector. It is a commendable, timely and significant progress of economic reform under the new government. Why this is important?

Wing ready to swoop into Myanmar Phnom Penh Post 16th May 2017
Wing ready to swoop into Myanmar Wing, which pioneered the agent-based money transfer business in Cambodia, will expand the model into Myanmar this year, tapping into the Southeast Asian country’s largely unbanked population of 55 million, the company’s chief executive said. Jojo Malolos, CEO of Wing Specialised Bank (Cambodia), said the company signed with Myanmar-based Mingalabar this March and the partners are currently working to finalise the expansion strategy and begin operations later this year. He explained that over 80 percent of Myanmar’s 55 million people have no formal access to financial services, which signifies a huge opportunity for companies to provide financial services that address this gap.

Myanmar’s First Private Bank to digitalize operations with Misys Enterprise Innovation | Asia's Premier Business and Technology Publication 15th May 2017
Myanmar’s First Private Bank (FPB) has chosen Misys FusionBanking to streamline operations and digitalize. The bank, which received the first banking licence in Myanmar in 1992, aims to facilitate access to financial services for all and will transform its retail, corporate and digital offering to bring new products and enhanced services to customers quickly and efficiently. This project will see Misys FusionBanking Essence and Digital Channels provide an efficient, connected front, middle and back office with advanced analytics to support the bank in better understanding consumer needs. FPB will be able to launch personalized products quickly and cost effectively in line with demand. Customers will be able to view and access their accounts across channels, get salaries credited electronically, transfer money and pay bills from different branches or on the go via mobile. The FusionBanking Insight analytics module will also enable the bank to track performance and obtain a consolidated view of customer preferences.

Myanmar heads for liberalizing all types of insurance services Xinhua 1st May 2017
Myanmar finance authorities have submitted a proposal to the government on seeking permission to grant operation of all types of insurance services to the private sector. Running of all 40 types of insurance plus additional farmers insurance and overseas employment life insurance are expected to be granted by the government soon, said U Kyaw Win, minister for planning and finance.

Food & Agriculture

Myanmar drafting new development strategy for agriculture sector Oxford Business Group 30th May 2017
In late April the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MALI) announced it was in the process of drafting a development strategy for the sector. The main targets of the blueprint are to improve sectoral monitoring, increase production and raise the sector’s competitiveness, officials said.

F2F Training Enables Myanmar Farmers to Increase Production and Access New Markets – Food Tank 27th May 2017
Complex challenges face Myanmar’s smallholder farmers. The United Nation’s Risk Model ranks Myanmar as the most at-risk country for natural disasters in Asia because of frequent floods, cyclones, and droughts. Declining soil fertility, unpredictable rainfall, and rising costs for inputs such as seeds and fertilizer cause further hardships for rural families. To overcome these challenges, producers are asking for technical assistance from the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program to help them identify and adopt low-cost, sustainable farming technologies.

Rejoining Asia’s rice bowls The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
Rice is one of the major sectors prioritised by the Myanmar National Export Strategy. The Strategy was designed to fuel the country’s sustainable development through export promotion and was first launched in March 2015 under the previous administration.

Agricultural development strategy to boost productivity The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
With technical assistance from Asia Development Bank, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) is developing an agricultural development strategy to boost productivity in the agricultural industry.

Myanmar plans agricultural development strategy - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 22nd May 2017
Myanmar is planning an agricultural development strategy on the basis of the second five-year national development plan, official media reported Monday. With the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), the strategy, once drawn up, will be released through workshops in the next two months to seek public opinions.

Agro ministry urges more seed production by private sector The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
Good quality crop seeds are necessary for the development of Myanmar’s agricultural sector and officials say they will encourage production of diverse crops instead of just paddy. Seed production should be encouraged for all kinds of crops and not only for paddy.

K64.5b agri loans in Mandalay The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
This year, K64.5 billion monsoon agricultural loans will be extended in Mandalay and loan amounts for other crops will also be increased, according to state-owned Myanma Agricultural Development Bank (MADB) of Mandalay regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. After borrowing from the largest state-owned lender Myanma Economic Bank (MEB), the MADB will extend loans of K1.5 lakh per paddy acre and K0.5 lakh per acre for other crops, instead of the current level of K0.2 lakh per acre, to farmers starting from the third week of May, MADB regional manager U Win Myint told the Myanmar Times on May 17.

Eastern states’ agro output expected to grow under ESAP The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2017
The Eastern States Agribusiness Project (ESAP), which will benefit over 62,400 ethnic households, is to be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Increasing productivity to drive competitive dairy industry in Myanmar The Nation 21st May 2017
MYANMAR’S dairy industry will remain uncompetitive if the nation fails to address low productivity of raw milk driven by poor genetics and low production technology, said Dumrong Leenanuruksa, a former vice president of Maejo University in Chiang Mai who carried out comprehensive research on the competitiveness of Greater Mekong Subregion’s dairy industry.

Health & Life Sciences

Hluttaw wants national health insurance system The Myanmar Times 6th Jun 2017
The Pyithu Hluttaw has urged the government to establish a nationwide health insurance system to reduce the rising healthcare expenses. Dr San Shwe Win, who represents Yegyi township in Ayeyarwady Region, submitted the proposal to the Pyithu Hluttaw session on Monday. He said at the Hluttaw that the objective of his proposal is to improve the efficiency of government healthcare work, so that all citizens, including the poor, get effective, timely healthcare and have the necessary funds. “With the changing social economy, increasing population, different types of diseases, low funds for the health sector and scarcity of medical appliances, the expenses incurred by the public if they get sick is reaching more than 80 percent, and this is becoming a burden,” he said.

Myanmar to establish smoke-free zones in six regions Xinhua 25th May 2017
The Myanmar government has planned to establish smoke-free zones in six regions to prevent young people from being impacted by smoking, the official media reported Wednesday.

Improving Education Reform in Myanmar The Irrawaddy 23rd May 2017
In 2016, the new civilian government led by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi took over the country. Education reform and the peace process became the top priorities of the government in order to achieve sustainable development and equitable economic growth. To build an enabling environment for a more effective education system in the country, the National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21 was developed. Meanwhile, many ethnic armed groups started to engage in a peace process led by the new civilian government for the first time in decades. However, fear and mistrust still linger in the country and it will take generations to overcome those hardships.

Opportunity knocks in Myanmar health market HealthInvestor Asia 22nd May 2017
After a visit to Myanmar, Jiadi Yu, principal investment officer at the IFC in Hong Kong, is optimistic about the country’s health market. Myanmar is an exciting place for investors. The new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi is encouraging private sector development and foreign investment. The country is gradually opening itself up for business to the rest of the world. IFC is glad to be part of the process. Since setting up an office in Yangon in 2012, we have focused our investments on building up road and power infrastructure. We are keeping a watchful eye on the health sector – hence my recent visit, where I met several local top tier private healthcare providers.

Unilever and EAC in Myanmar joint venture The Straits Times 15th May 2017
Consumer goods giant Unilever has teamed up with a Myanmar partner to manufacture and sell home and personal care products in the country. The partnership is between Unilever Myanmar and Europe and Asia Commercial Company, a home care firm in the nation of 55 million with a fast-emerging middle class.

Government urged to establish national health insurance system Eleven Myanmar 6th Jun 2017
The Lower House has decided to continue the discussion on how to establish a national health insurance system, consisting of multi-sector cooperation which provides a well-timed healthcare service for every citizen, including the poor.

More rural health centers to emerge in Myanmar next year - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua Net 1st Jun 2017
YANGON, May 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of eight more rural health centers in Chin and Shan states of Myanmar will emerge next year, official media reported Wednesday.

The fight against fake drugs Frontier Myanmar 1st Jun 2017
Several months ago, when Daw Thaung Tin began experiencing searing pain in her abdomen each time she ate a meal, she sought treatment at a nearby clinic. The doctor did not say what was wrong but prescribed medicine that he said would make Thaung Tin feel better within two weeks.

Myanmar govt to enact measures to prevent dengue epidemic | Yangon Coconuts 31st May 2017
Myanmar’s Public Health Department is calling for nationwide preventive measures against the spread of dengue fever after nearly 2,000 cases were reported in the first quarter of 2017, including nine fatal ones.

State-owned pharma firm plans for upgrade The Myanmar Times 30th May 2017
State-owned Myanmar Pharmaceutical Factory (MPF) is seeking suppliers for five of its business wings, as it aims to modernise in a changing marketplace.

Ministry allocated $380 million to anti-AIDS project Frontier Myanmar 23rd May 2017
The Ministry of Health and Sports and donors plan to use US$380 million in a national-level combating project against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to last from 2016 to 2020, according to the ministry. The plan targets groups including homosexual, drug users, sexual workers, and other at-risk groups to be given human rights and protections. The health department spent $15 million in 2016 to purchase ART and related medicines for the treatment of HIV infection. Malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS are the diseases of the utmost priority for the Ministry of Health and Sports to fight against. The Global Fund aided $497 million to contribute to the program until 2020.

UNAIDS lauds launch of new Myanmar HIV strategic plan, calls for more investment Mizzima 17th May 2017
UNAIDS has commended Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) and the Myanmar HIV Technical and Strategy Group on the launch of the third National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS 2016 to 2020 (NSP III), held at the Park Royal Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw, according to a statement on 17 May. The five-year plan serves as the country’s fast-track strategy to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The NSP III adapts the latest global strategies to the Myanmar context to ensure an effective, cost-efficient and high-impact HIV response.

ICT

Big 4G push to drive Myanmar's smartphone use- Nikkei Asian Review 1st Jun 2017
Smartphone use in Myanmar is getting a major boost as the country's largest mobile carrier has bumped up the wireless data transmission speed in major cities, paving the way for more fluid video viewing. The government-affiliated Myanma Posts and Telecommunications on Tuesday began full service of 4G mobile data transmission in Myanmar's three largest cities: Naypyitaw, Yangon and Mandalay.

Myanmar to receive first foreign coaching on communications | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 23rd May 2017
AS MYANMAR’S growing economy creates opportunities for communications professionals in a wide range of industries, Rice Communications, a Singaporean public relations agency with presence in the nation, has planned to conduct a free training on PR and communications.

Myanmar 1.8GHz spectrum costs operators $80M each Mobile World Live 22nd May 2017
Myanmar’s Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) allocated 2x40MHz of technology neutral spectrum in the 1.8GHz band to the country’s four mobile operators. Under a direct allocation method, PTD gave the country’s four mobile operators – state-owned MPT, Telenor Myanmar, Ooredoo Myanmar and Mytel – the opportunity to acquire 2x10MHz of spectrum at a predetermined price of $80 million apiece.

The digital revolution: from Mandalay to Manchester The Myanmar Times 18th May 2017
In the era of the global digital distribution, products made in Mandalay can be sold in Manchester cost-effectively – the key to that economic miracle is the mobile phone. James Song, managing principal and co-founder of Faircap Partners, led two sessions as a speaker at the Forum last week. Photo - Supplied The Myanmar Times spoke to James Song after his trip to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2017. This year, young people, technology and growth are the key themes of the Forum. James Song is a managing principal and co-founder at Faircap Partners, which is an American investment management firm focused on building Myanmar’s economy. Mr Song was made a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2016.

Foreign investment booms in Myanmar telecoms- Nikkei Asian Review 15th May 2017
BANGKOK -- Overseas companies spent big on building mobile phone infrastructure in Myanmar over the past year, while they took a break from exploring oil and gas. Foreign investment in Myanmar's transportation and telecommunications sectors surged to $3.08 billion for the year ended March, a 60% jump. In contrast, spending in the gas and oil industry -- which had accounted more than half of the total in the preceding year -- dropped to zero from a dearth of new exploration projects. Overall, foreign investment in the Southeast Asian nation decreased 30% to $6.64 billion, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

Infrastructure

Investor-friendly environment and human capital essential for Myanmar’s success in the Belt and Road Initiative The Myanmar Times 5th Jun 2017
The McKinsey Global Institute argues that China has opportunities to build on the momentum of the BRI by placing its capital and expertise into international infrastructure projects. But by far the biggest funding source would be the private sector for Myanmar. Photo - EPA

Closing the infrastructure gap through blended finance The Myanmar Times 31st May 2017
With ASEAN turning 50 years old and China’s Belt and Road Initiative taking centre stage, connectivity is a buzz word embraced by politicians and pundits alike. Since the Fourth Industrial Revolution has started, Myanmar should look at developing connectivity in terms of both hardware and software, according to Ken Tun, chief executive officer of Parami Energy.

Myanmar sends mixed message to foreign investors- Nikkei Asian Review 30th May 2017
Myanmar may be courting foreign businesses by asking them to set up shop in its special economic zone, but its broader reforms have disappointed some outside observers.

India Myanmar Thailand highway: Project is likely to start from next month, says Nitin Gadkari The Financial Express 30th May 2017
To strengthen connectivity with Southeast Asia, the government is likely to kickstart work on highway from Meghalaya to Myanmar, as part of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral pact, from next month. “We will probably start work on Meghalaya to Myanmar project from next month. The cost of the project is Rs 5,000 crore,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters here. India, Thailand and Myanmar are working on a 1,400 km long highway that would link the country with Southeast Asia by land for the first time in decades, a move which would give a boost to trade, business, health, education and tourism among the countries.

New service promises faster transits from Myanmar to Japan and China JOC 30th May 2017
Japanese logistics company Hitachi Transport System has launched a new intermodal container transport service that promises to cut in half the time it takes to move goods between Myanmar and Japan and China.

Tanintharyi tourism committee seeks IFC infrastructure support The Myanmar Times 26th May 2017
A tanintharyi development committee, operating under the tourism ministry and chaired by local tycoon Serge Pun, is seeking assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the upgrade of infrastructure in Myeik archipelago to boost sustainable tourism, a committee member told The Myanmar Times.

Nylon-tar roads throughout Myanmar by 2030 The Myanmar Times 23rd May 2017
Arrangements are being made for all roads in the nation to be upgraded to nylon-tar roads by 2030. Union Minister for Construction U Win Khine said this after the Amyotha Hluttaw meeting on May 19.

Legislation

Proposed gemstone legislation risks leaving flawed system intact The Myanmar Times 30th May 2017
The proposed Gemstone Law, currently under discussion in the national legislature, would largely perpetuate many flaws in the governing framework created by the then-military-led government in 1995, according to Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

MIC now mandated to exclude irresponsible investors The Myanmar Times 30th May 2017
Under the new Investment Law and corresponding investment rules implemented in April 2017, the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) is now empowered to exclude investors who have abused human rights in any jurisdiction, according to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

Parliament to re-discuss taxation on high-purity gold | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 30th May 2017
According to the 2017 Tax Law, a one per cent tax is levied on gold-decorated objects, and a five per cent tax is levied on high-purity gold. High-purity gold is the raw material for gold-decorated objects, which will be levied a one per cent tax. Collecting tax on high-purity gold is leading a burden on retail customers who have to pay a one per cent tax plus charges for wasted gold during melting. The total estimated percentage of tax that the final customers have to pay will be eight per cent.

36 investment proposals permitted under two old laws The Myanmar Times 15th May 2017
For the first month of this fiscal year, 36 businesses, approved under two older investment laws, have been permitted to operate, according to Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) secretary U Aung Naing Oo. They include 24 foreign investments – worth US$656.277 million – and 14 domestic investments, which are worth US$186 million (or K366 billion), he added. “At present, we have been deciding on the proposals made under the old investment laws. “A few proposals remain under old laws. After that, approval for proposals will be granted under the new investment law,” the MIC secretary said.

Foreign business hails greater clarity in new investment law Frontier Myanmar 15th May 2017
There has been a largely positive response from members of the foreign business community to Myanmar’s new investment law, though they say that more needs to be done to help develop the economy. The Myanmar Investment Law, approved by the Union Parliament last October and enacted on April 1, replaces the 2012 Foreign Investment Law and the 2013 Myanmar Citizens Investment Law. It includes major changes to the number of promoted sectors, tax incentives for investing in underdeveloped areas and a more prominent role for the Myanmar Investment Commission in dealing with relevant ministries in a move aimed at easing market entry.

Manufacturing

Myanmar takes measures to control price manipulation in industrial zones Mizzima 10th May 2017
Myanmar authorities are introducing measures to minimize and eliminate price manipulation of industrial zones by constantly inspecting and supervising business operation there, official media reported Monday.

Unilever strikes deal with rival in bet on Myanmar Financial Times 4th May 2017
Unilever has struck a joint venture deal with a local consumer goods rival in Myanmar as part of a bigger bet on the fast-opening country despite a fall in economic growth and the currency.