Coca-Cola is back on the shelves, and supermarkets in Yangon now stock Liberty Gold’s frozen peas, exported from San Francisco. But American exports remain few and far between in much of Myanmar, the legacy of years of US sanctions. US business sources, though, say that the new program of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) in Myanmar, announced last month, could help change that.
Ex-Im financing “generally helps companies selling industrial or high-end products,” Judy Benn, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, tells Monitor Global Outlook.US exports to Myanmar totaled $145.6 million in 2013, according to the US-ASEAN Business Council.
John Goyer, senior director for Southeast Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, expects that total to rise with the Ex-Im involvement, particularly when it comes to infrastructure firms.
In 1991, foreign direct investment (FDI) dropped only slightly despite that year’s coup. FDI rose from 2006, a coup year, to 2007, a year of military rule. In 2010 FDI was double from the previous year despite massive red shirt protests and the destruction of shopping malls in central Bangkok, noted Robert Dayley, author of Southeast Asia in the New International Era, citing FDI figures from from IndexMundi.U.S. trade with Thailand actually rose more than 20 percent during politically tumultuous 2010, other experts noted.
“Thailand in 2014 is not going to find itself in a Syrian-level civil war, and it’s not likely to reverse four straight decades of average and impressive increases of FDI inflows,” Dayley told Borderless.
It's been almost 50 years since regular services were held at Congregation Mesmuah Yeshuah, but every morning 63-year-old Moses Samuel, patriarch of Burma’s remaining Jewish community, opens the synagogue doors and waits for any visitors, Jewish or not, who might come by.
However, industry insiders forecast that the FDI flow will increase this year.According to the General Statistics Office, of the total investment, $830 million was the registered capital of 122 new projects, while the rest was additional capital of 41 existing projects.
Processing and manufacturing remained the most attractive industries for foreign investors in the first two months of the year, comprising $1.18 billion of the total capital. Real estate followed with $278.3 million.South Korea was Vietnam's biggest investor with nearly $469 million. Singapore ranked second with $264.5 million.
Japan and the US also poured $263.36 million and $129.2 million respectively into Vietnam in the first two months.
The council earlier welcomed the filing of the Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 (TPA) by the bipartisan group of Senator Max Baucus of Montana, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Representative Dave Camp of Michigan that accelerates the TPP conclusion.
Vice President (Policy) of Washington-based US-Asean Business Council (USABC), Marc Mealy, said Asean member states, including Malaysia, would gain from joining the TPP.Mealy, an expert on US-Asean and US-Malaysian trade and investments, was a member of the USABC delegation to Malaysia in the third week of November.
He said the delegation offered perspectives of American multinationals on the TPP as well as on the "next generation" of Economic Transformation Programme policy reforms and investments to enhance Malaysia's global competitiveness.
Vice President Marc Mealy said there are new opportunities for big and small Malaysian companies to gain from the TPPA."If the agreement lowers barriers for locally produced products for 12 economies around the world which make up 40 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP), then there must be a question to ask: What are the new opportunities that Malaysian companies both big and small might be able to benefit from the TPPA?" he said.
He said there is a common perspective that Malaysia is a trading nation and the country's continued growth and development are tied to more trade and investment.
Organised by the US-Asean Business Council, the delegation engaged the government of Indonesia, senior Indonesian business leaders, and other stakeholders during the council's annual business mission.Companies participating in the delegation included Boeing, BP, Caterpillar, Chevron, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Dell, ExxonMobil, FedEx Express, Ford Motor Company, Freeport-McMoRan, General Atlantic, General Electric, General Motors, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Merck & Co, Nike, Procter and Gamble, PMI, Qualcomm, Seagate Technology and Visa.
The mission was led by the chairman of the council's Indonesia committee, Skip Boyce, president of Boeing Southeast Asia, and Alexander Feldman, president of the council.