Rural areas remain mobile black spots

Although the mobile penetration rate has improved this year, telecoms companies are struggling to provide services in remote areas, especially where there is unrest.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications said mobile penetration had reached about 90 per cent, although this was mostly limited to urban areas.

The firms said building masts in remote areas was hampered by adverse weather, transport problems, unreliable power supplies and conflicts.

Eight firms get all clear to open

The Myanmar Investment Commission has granted permits to eight companies, including cement and clothing manufacturers, potentially creating an estimated 4,700 jobs.

There are four foreign companies, three joint-ventures and one domestic, publicly owned company.

The four foreign companies which got the green light for the establishment of cut-make-pack (CMP) clothing factories are Timbermar Apparel Co, Ltd, Prettex Co, Ltd, Myanmode Co, Ltd and Oumi Fashion Co, Ltd.

Trade with US reaches $134m

Trade between Myanmar and US reached US$134 million by September 9 this fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

“The country’s export earnings exceeded US$76 million while imports reached US$58 million,” said Khin Maung Lwin, assistant permanent secretary from the ministry.

Bilateral trade was US$550 million in 2014-15, the ministry said.

Myanmar mainly exports agricultural produce, marine goods and industrial finished products to the US and imported largely personal goods and raw materials.

Indonesia set sign rice import deal

Myanmar is due to sign a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia to export 500,000 tonnes of rice a year until 2019, according to Ministry of Commerce.
“There is a new minister of commerce in Indonesia and it has requested to postpone the deal for the time being. We are scheduled to go to Indonesia this month to sign agreement,” said assistant secretary of the ministry Khin Maung Lwin.
About 90 per cent of rice exports currently go overland to China but the Myanmar Rice Federation is looking like to increase sales to Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan.

Minister unveils Myeik strategy

Regional firms will be given priority in a business plan to turn a new tourism page in the Myeik archipelago, Taninthayi Region, says minister for hotels and tourism Ohn Maung.

He said: "We have targeted the development of the Myeik archipelago to which rich people usually come on vacation. I will go there next month to discuss the plan with the regional government. We will include the natural resources and forestry ministers.

New Myanmar investment law is the ‘right move’

INTERNATIONAL lawyers have welcomed Myanmar’s new investment law, saying it will create a better investment environment for both local and foreign investors once enforced.

Jo Daniels, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie Myanmar, said at a media roundtable that the new law could be one of Myanmar's most significant legal reforms once approved by the parliament. While praising the move, she believes much of the benefits still hinge on the enforcement efforts of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

UMFCCI’s new management vows sterling efforts

ZAW MIN WIN, the new president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has pledged to put his focus on strengthening the domestic business community.

After the vote on Sunday that added several new young faces including Aung Thura, an investment banker in Switzerland who just returned home a few years ago to establish Thura Swiss Co, the new executive committee started its 3-year term on Tuesday. The federation has about 30,000 members, one third of which are active.

US moves get cautious welcome

THE Myanmar business sector is upbeat on the potential economic benefits following the promise by the United States to make significant policy changes towards the country, including the lifting of remaining sanctions and reinstatement of the generalised system of preferences (GSP).

It is anticipated that the changes, pending approval by the US Congress, will take effect in a matter of months.

Maung Aung, senior adviser to Myanmar's Commerce Ministry, said the absence of sanctions would boost both trade and investment.

Myanmar investment bill submitted to Lower House

The Ministry of Planning and Finance submitted the Myanmar Investment Bill to the Lower House of parliament in Nay Pyi Taw on September 20. The bill was drafted to address weak points in the Foreign Investment Law and the Myanmar Citizens’ Investment Law.

The Foreign Investment Law was enacted in 2012, and the Myanmar Citizens’ Investment Law was enacted in 2013, both under the previous government.

“Myanmar is the only Asean country with two investment laws,” said deputy minister for planning and finance Maung Maung Win.