The Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon, in collaboration with the Thai Business Association of Myanmar, organized the 4th “Myanmar Insight 2019”, an investment seminar, to prepare and tutor Thai businesses that are interested in doing business in Myanmar.
Bangkok, Thailand – Her Excellency, Mrs. Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Ambassador of Thailand to Myanmar, revealed that this seminar is being organized for the fourth time as a platform to exchange knowledge, experiences and in-depth information related to trading and investment in Myanmar, in addition to also being a chance to engage with those directing the policies of the country, as well as updating current consumer behaviour trends.
The seminar has been created for the benefits of Thai businesses or others who might be interested in investing in Myanmar in areas such as opportunities for economic cooperation between Thai and Myanmar, economic development in Myanmar, emerging economies, improvements of laws to promote investment, as well as the strengthening of relationships, demonstrating the capacity for growth in markets and investment, resulting in a strong international alliance.
This year’s seminar is also honored by the presence of His Excellency, Mr. Chaisiri Anaman, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in presiding over the opening ceremony, as well as a special keynote on “Investment Opportunities in Myanmar for Thai Investors” by Mr.Thaung Tun, Union Minister for the Office of the Union Government and Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, followed by a special discussion on “Doing Business for Responsibility” from Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, former Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation(WTO).
Other topics of interest include Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, as well as the Project Bank Development Plan for Myanmar, Investment Opportunities in Electricity and Energy, updates on information on new laws that are opening new opportunities for foreign companies in retail and wholesale, which is another interesting business opportunity; and finally, opportunities and methods in expanding bases of production into Myanmar.
The World Bank’s rankings in Doing Business 2019, which takes into principle consideration the following parameters: ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit for businesses, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency; ranks Myanmar 171 from 190 countries, but Myanmar aims to make it into the top 100 by 2020-2021 and into the top 40 by 2035-2036.
In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Myanmar in the past 7 months of the 2018-2019 fiscal year (October 2018 – May 2019), the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved investment equivalent to 2,499.413 billion US dollars, with Singapore coming in as the country with the most investment, reaching a value of 1,600.053 billion US dollars, and China and Hong Kong in second. Thailand, meanwhile, comes in in fourth with a value of 118.634 million US dollars.
In terms of industries that foreign investors give most priority to in Myanmar during the first half of the 2018-2019 fiscal year (October 2018 – May 2019), the first is commerce and communications; second, manufacturing; third, energy; fourth, hotel and tourism; and fifth, real estate.
Mr.Sorasak Keeratichokechaikul, President of the Thai Business Association of Myanmar (TBAM) adds that the association has received great support from the Royal Thai Embassy, as well as from prominent Thai banks and businesses that have invested in Myanmar in the organization of “Myanmar Insight”. This seminar, which is the 4th of its kind, is a platform for Thai business operators to receive information on the economic policies of Myanmar, the opportunities for investment, as well as the experiences of businessmen both from Myanmar and Thailand, who have achieved business success through their investments. Last year, over 600 Thai business operators joined the event from a large variety of industries. TBAM reaffirms its readiness to support and advise any Thai business that might be interested in investing in Myanmar.
The trade value between Thailand and Myanmar for the period between January 2019 – May 2019 is valued at 3,188.69 billion US dollars, which is an increase of 12.43% from last year’s number across the same period of time. Thailand’s export to Myanmar is valued at 188.32 billion US dollars, with imports valued at 1,300.37 billion US dollars. Thailand’s exports include fuel, beverages, metal and metal products, chemicals, machinery, cars, and rice, to name a few. Products that Thailand imports includes natural gas, metal ores, animal meat for consumption, plant products and fruit.
Myanmar has great potential and capacity for business and investment since it is also strategically positioned between the two large markets of China and India. Myanmar also benefits from having a large working-aged population. Its strategic position as a regional and inter-regional hub is further strengthened by its inclusion in the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI). Thailand and Myanmar are Natural Strategic Partners, especially with the Thai government’s policies that support business and investment in Myanmar, all with the shared goals of creating sustainable development for the future.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.