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Thai investors urged to move quick in Myanmar

Thai investors should invest more in Myanmar in a bid to take huge advantages in the rapidly-emerging market, speakers said at the the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon last month.



"Myanmar's economic outlook is very promising. The country's strategic location also makes it more attractive for international businesses. Why don't you invest in such an emerging market with boundless opportunities?" asked Pattanapong Tansomboon, first senior vice president of Kasikornbank, which sponsored the networking event. Governmental agencies and private sector businesses should be getting involved in the newly-opened economy, Pattanapong added.

His views were echoed by Moe Min Kyaw, secretary-general of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

"We are in a very dynamic region as the Asean Economic Community is coming soon. With the population of more than 60 million people, Myanmar has very big consumer market. It is a very big importing country as we cannot manufacture ourselves even simple, small things. Why don't you use Myanmar as a gateway to expansion of businesses?" he asked.

The UMFCCI official added that Myanmar has numerous natural resources and plenty of tourist attractions, from snow-capped mountains to cultural heritage sites. However, it needs a lot of investment and technical know-how for development. He emphasised the importance of capacity building, calling for the need for skills training.

He said the AEC will help the country develop more thanks to the economic integration among Asean countries it will spark.

"We need a single market to make it strong. What we need is for our region to be more competitive than ever before. Nowadays, when we talk about the AEC, a lot of people will ask, 'Are you ready for the AEC?' We need more preparations for Asean integration," said Moe Min Kyaw.

During the dinner talk, the UMFCCI's secretary-general emphasised the importance of the national export strategy and the Myanmar Business Forum, which is "similar to business forums in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia".

"It is a permanent dialogue platform, chaired by President Thein Sein. And it is supported by the World Bank. Key issues and priorities areas will be discussed in this forum, and it will help solve the problems of the government," Moe Min Kyaw said, adding that the forum will be held every six months.

He added that new laws to support the economy need be enacted while old laws need to be modified for further liberalisation.

Thai Ambassador Pisanu Suvanajata said that the Royal Thai Embassy had become busier than many other embassies in Myanmar since the opening of the economy.

Business people "must have the ability to look and see the opportunities. To have such ability, you also need to have accurate perception, and correct understanding of the opportunities and its legal framework," he said, adding that applying a practical approach was vital to expansion of businesses.

As of May 31, Myanmar has permitted 73 Thai enterprises to invest more than a total of US$10 billion in the country. As a result, Thailand stands second in the foreign investors' list after China, the top investor, with 21.70 per cent of the total FDI, according to the Department of Investment and Company Administration.


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