Burma Business Roundup (Saturday, March 17)
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Burma Business Roundup (Saturday, March 17)


By WILLIAM BOOT / THE IRRAWADDY Saturday, March 17, 2012


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After several fruitless years it claimed in 2011 to have found a gas reserve with about 25 billion cubic meters.

Sinopec has also reported a gas find in Monywa District of Sagaing Division.

‘Go to Burma,’ Malaysian Trade Minister Tells Business Leaders

Malaysia’s government is urging the country’s industrial businesses to invest in Burma.

International Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said Burma did not pose a competitive threat to Malaysia over attracting foreign investors because the two countries are at different stages of development.

“Both countries have different targets in attracting FDIs with Malaysia going for high-technology investments while Myanmar is more on labour-intensive industries,”' he was quoting by The Star newspaper as telling a business forum this week.

Key areas where Malaysian businesses could seek contracts in Burma included road and airport construction, oil palm plantations, property development and the oil and gas exploration and production sectors.

“Presently there are 200 Malaysian companies and businessmen there and we want to see more of them in Myanmar,” Mustapha told a conference in Johor Baru.

US Government: How to Do Business in Burma

A website provided by the United States government is providing advice to American businesses on how to go about selling goods and services in Burma.

The site, Export.gov, warns companies that under sanctions laws they must not do business with senior Burmese officials and their families, nor import goods from Burma, but adds: “There is no general prohibition for United States companies regarding the exportation of goods and services, other than financial services, to Burma.”

Export.gov directs companies to the commercial office of the US Embassy in Rangoon for advice on the business climate in Burma.

“Export.gov brings together resources from across the US government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and succeed in today’s global marketplace,” says the website, which was last updated on March 6.

However, there is a caveat: “Political intervention, corruption and central state control continue to obstruct most economic sectors. The [Burmese] government is taking tentative steps to remove or amend restrictive trade and investment policies, however, it has yet to enact these changes through new legislation.”

Canada Should Cancel Sanctions and Join the Business Queue

In the wake of the brief visit to Burma by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird last week, the Toronto Star newspaper has questioned whether Canada’s business interests are best served by maintaining sanctions.

“There is no upside to seeing the Thein Sein government fail in its reform efforts or in pushing it further into welcoming Chinese arms,” the newspaper commented this week. “Burma will not soon achieve a democratic ideal, but neither do many of Canada’s trading partners. [Burma] should be held to the same standard.

“By taking immediate steps, Canada can contribute to Burma’s success, build goodwill and allow Canadian business to pursue more effectively future opportunities in Burma.”

The newspaper said Canada needs to decide whether to act now or wait and see what others do, “in which case what Canada does will not matter—it will arrive late.”



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