Trade Practice in Myanmar
Since, Myanmar has changed it's economic course from a centrally planned economy into a market oriented system, a series of structural reforms had been introduced and new legal policy instruments given the private sector including foreign investors and businessmen, the right to do business and to make investment in the country were enacted.
The Government of the Union of Myanmar has recognized, in the context of the market-oriented economic system, the private sector as a prime-mover of the market mechanism and pays great attention for its development. All-out efforts are being made to encourage the active participation of private sectors in foreign0020trade and giving full support in every angle.
By these reasons, trade liberalization measures were introduced as follows:-
(1) To be in line with the changing economic system, the private individuals or enterprises are allowed to carry out the export import business which was previously monopolised by the state.
(2) Border Trade was regularised in order to develop and strengthen the bilateral trade relations with the five neighbouring countries . Department of Border Trade was established and its 11 branch offices providing one - stop service for border trade matters in collaboration with various departments concerned.
(3) Export and Import procedures was realigned.
(4) Lowered the technical barriers to trade and simplified export/ import procedures geared towards trade facilitation and promotion.
(5) Incentives are being given to exporters by allowing 100 % retention of export earnings for importation of goods.
(6) Trade notifications are being issued by specifying necessary rules in conformity to the changing internal and external business environment.
(7) Exemption of commercial tax and customs duty on the imported items like fertilizers, agricultural machineries and implements, insecticides and pesticides, medicines and raw materials.
(8) The role of Chambers of Commerce and Industry had reactivated and reorganized the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry - UMFCCI for the promotion of trade and industry of the private sector.
To be in line with the market oriented economy, the foreign trade policy of Myanmar is also a very independent one. We can trade with any country in the world except with some countries that are trade embargoed by the United Nations Resolutions or a few countries and territories which we have cut off diplomatic relations.
Myanmar believes in trade liberalization and alsowants free and fair trade in the world. Myanmar was a founder member of the old organization, GATT and a member of the new organization, WTO. Hence, our foreign trade policies are generally governed by the rule-based multilateral trading system.
Burma Investment Environment
Since the adoption of the market-oriented economic system, the Union of Myanmar Foreign Investment Law (FIL) was enacted on 30 November 1988, to induce foreign direct investment together with technology and also to mobilize its natural resources.
Policy objective underlyiung foreign investment are for:-
(a) promotion and expansion of exports;
(b) exploitation of natrual resources, which; require heavy investment;
(c) acquisition of high technology;
(d) supporting and assisting production and services involving large capital;
(e) opening up of more employment opportunities;
(f) development of works which would save enerby consumption; and
(g) regional development.
Formation of Myanmar Investment Commission
In order to oversee and administer the Foreign Investment Law (FIL) and Myanmar Citizen's Investment Law ( MCIL); the Myanmar Investment Commisssion (MIC) was formed with the Government jof the Union of Myanmar Notification No ( 7/94) on 3 August 1994. The commission was reformed with the Notification No.(59/99) on 3 December 1999. The Commission consistss of five full time members and five part time members. All of the members are Ministers.
The Myanmar Inkvestment Commission (MIC) is an initial apporving authority for fireign investment proposals just llike Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand and Economic Developmkent Board (EDB) of Singapore. It kundertakes the responsibility to Trade Council and Cabnet.
Allowable Economic Activities
In order to provide more specific guidance to foreign investors; a notification listing the types of economic activities allowed for foreign investment has been issued. It i s not an exhaustied list but it covers most aactivities with the exception of those reserved kunder the STate-owned Economic Enterprises Law ( SEE Law). However, if a foreign investor is inbte3rested in abn activity not speacified in the notification or an activity defined in the SEE Law, he can apply to MIC stating his interest and resons as to why it will be mutually beneficial to the State and to himself for the activity to be undertaken. If MIC is satisfied that the proposed activity will indeed be in the interest of our Nation, it may put up the application for apporval from Trade Council and Cabinet.