Myanmar reforms commission to boost foreign investment

Yangon – Myanmar has recently reformed its investment commission as part of its efforts to draw more foreign investment into the country.

The 13-member Myanmar Investment Commission was re-established with Minister of Energy U Zeyar Aung as chairman, replacing U Win Shein, who is minister of finance.

The minister of hotels and tourism became the vice chairman, while a deputy finance minister of finance and deputy minister of national planning and economic development stand as key members.

The commission is an independent organization under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development similarly as the Central Bank of Myanmar.

So far this year, it has permitted nearly 30 projects for investment by local entrepreneurs and 60 for investment by foreigners.

According to official statistics, Myanmar received 2.21 billion U.S. dollars in foreign investment in the first four months of 2014 with the transport and communication sector leading the line- up with 1.34 billion dollars, followed by manufacturing (426.8 million dollars), real estate (267.8 million dollars), hotel and tourism (56.9 million dollars) and mining (28.69 million dollars).

The total foreign investment in Myanmar reached 46.48 billion dollars as of April 2014 since the country opened door to the world in late 1988.

In the year 2013-14 ending in March, Myanmar obtained 4.107 billion dollars’ contracted foreign investment, up from 1.4 billion dollars a year earlier.

The foreign investment from 34 countries and regions mainly went to the manufacturing sector, apart from energy, oil and gas, mining, hotels and tourist, real estate, livestock and fishery and agriculture.

China stood as the largest investor with over 14 billion dollars during 2013-14, followed by Thailand with over 10 billion dollars and China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with over 6 billion dollars.

Myanmar promulgated a new foreign investment law in November 2012 and the commission was formed in 1994.

In 2013-14, Myanmar earned 3.207 billion dollars from export of natural gas, the country’s top foreign exchange earner.

Myanmar’s export goods also include agricultural produces, marine products, animal by-products, mine and forest products.

The country sustained a trade deficit of 2.652 billion dollars in 2013-14, with export and import standing at 11.108 billion dollars and 13.76 billion dollars, respectively. Source: Xinhua