Myanmar

ASEAN Regulatory Brief: Thai Interest Rates, Myanmar’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures, and New Links for the Philippines’ Stock Exchange

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In this ASEAN Regulatory Brief, we look at some of the important regulatory changes taking place recently in Thailand, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

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Myanmar Investment Update: Financial Incentives, Myanmar-EU Investment Protection Agreement, and a New Stock Exchange

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Flag_of_Myanmar.svgBy Edward Barbour-Lacey

As Myanmar continues the process of opening up and liberalizing its economy, there have been a number of changes in the level of foreign investment that the country has been receiving. This has occurred in part due to the various new rules and regulations that the government has promulgated in its attempt to improve the country’s business environment.

In order to attract investment, the Myanmar’s government has worked to improve its investment atmosphere through such measures as updating its legal structure and investment law, as well as modernizing its infrastructure. In particular, with regards to investment, the country has combined two of its investment laws – the Foreign Investment Law and Myanmar Citizens Investment Law.

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Logging On: New Internet Cable Boosts Myanmar’s Connectivity with Neighbors

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Flag_of_Myanmar.svg Earlier this week Jiang Zhengxin – vice general manager of China United Telecommunications Corp. –revealed that the company has been contracted to construct China’s first international undersea cable linking China and Myanmar.

Speaking from the sidelines of the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Forum held on September 13th, this announcement comes as part of a larger push by China to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN.

Construction will be headed by China Unicom, a subsidiary of China United Telecommunications Corp., which will work in partnership with Myanmar’s Telecommunications operators. Of those currently operating in Myanmar, the most likely partner for the project is state owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) which has a prior working relationship with China Unicom, experience in undersea cable construction, and a monopoly on the telecommunications sector in Myanmar.

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Myanmar to Commercially Tax All Transactions on Yangon Stock Exchange

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According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM), all transactions on the soon to be opened Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) will be commercially taxed.

The new bourse, the first of its kind in Myanmar, is scheduled to be opened in December of this year. The YSX is being developed in partnership with two Japanese firms, the Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd, which holds a 30.25 percent stake, and the Japan Exchange Group, with an 18.75 percent stake. As a result of the opening of the new exchange, all existing over-the-counter (OTC) markets will be made illegal.

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Asian Highway to Link India, Myanmar, and Thailand

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three-nation-asian-highway-1441002579-51721390A new section of the planned Asian highway linking India, Myanmar, and Thailand has become operational. The 25.6 kilometer roadway will reduce travel time between Thinggan Nyenaung and Kawkareik from three hours to 45 minutes.

The newly opened section of the highway is located in the East-West economic corridor of the Greater Mekong Subregion (a development project implemented in 1992 by the World Development Bank and consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province, China). It is hoped that the road will help to further grow trade between Myanmar and Thailand and build stronger relationships between the people in the region.

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China-ASEAN Cost of Business Comparisons – Executive Summary

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CDE Op-Ed Commentary

We have just completed our nine part series on the cost of doing business in ASEAN compared with China. The nine country comparisons (see below for all links) detail cost of labor and taxes, together with bilateral trade profiles between China and Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Brunei was omitted from the series as it is of limited interest to foreign investors except in the oil and gas fields, while Singapore was compared directly to operational costs in Hong Kong.

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ASEAN’s 2015 AEC Compliance Deadline – What It Actually Means

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CDE Op-Ed Commentary

A much publicized feature of ASEAN’s development is the so-called “AEC Deadline” which is due at 31st December 2015. The AEC (Asean Economic Community) deadline is rather a misnomer and has led to a great deal of misunderstanding about what it actually means.

As at these pre-deadline days, where we stand is that the entire ASEAN community – meaning all members – have agreed to reduce their tariffs as concern import-export across borders. Of these ten nations however, four of them – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam asked for additional time to get prepared for this. That deadline is the one that expires at the end of 2015. All the other nations – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – are already in compliance and have reduced tariffs accordingly. As these include the biggest members of ASEAN, the AEC deadline is something of a moot point. Of the six nations above five are major trade and manufacturing players in their own right. Here is a brief snapshot:

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The Cost of Business in Myanmar Compared With China

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By Chris Devonshire-Ellis
Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates

Part Five in our series comparing ASEAN nation business costs with China

Myanmar remains an enigmatic country – one of the largest and most populated in Asia but also one of its poorest and least understood. It remains a country that has largely stood still for seventy years – hardly any infrastructure of note was developed in the country since the end of WWII. However, its admission into ASEAN, as well as an emerging sense of liberalization is slowly projecting Myanmar back onto the world stage. Infrastructure issues remain problematic however; communications of any sort are practically non-existent outside of the main cities, and even electricity and access to clean water remains awkward. As a result, although the country does attract a great deal of political and romantic imagery that will no doubt stand it in good stead in future years, Myanmar essentially remains a country invested in either by large MNC’s with deep pockets, or entrepreneurial traders and light manufacturers.

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ASEAN Exchanges: Myanmar Integrates Further

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By Charles Small

exchange -1Myanmar’s Deputy Finance Minister, Maung Thein, has announced that the over-the-counter Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre (MSEC) will be replaced with the Yangon Stock Exchange in October 2015. So far, ten companies are expected to meet the criteria for initial listing on the exchange.

The Yangon Stock Exchange Joint Venture Co. is being developed in partnership with two Japanese firms, the Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd, which holds a 30.25 percent stake, and the Japan Exchange Group, with an 18.75 percent stake.

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OECD and ASEAN Release Investment Policy Review of Myanmar

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On December 9th, the Second ASEAN-OECD Investment Policy Conference was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, to discuss the continued facilitation and promotion of ASEAN investment for regional integration.  The event brought together ASEAN investment policy makers, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members, and industry leaders, to showcase ASEAN’s regional investment integration achievements since the first conference in 2010. Included at the conference was a discussion of the OECD’s Investment Policy Review of Myanmar, which marked the country as one to watch heading into 2015.

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