US firms in­ter­ested in Myan­mar’s dig­i­tal econ­omy

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - THIHA KOKO news­room@mm­times.com

THE US-ASEAN Busi­ness Coun­cil (USABC) led a busi­ness mis­sion to Myan­mar in which they held a meet­ing with the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (UMFCCI) to strengthen trade and in­vest­ments in the coun­try. The USABC is an ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion for Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions op­er­at­ing within the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN).

Alexan­der Feld­man, USABC chief, led a del­e­ga­tion of busi­nesses to meet Yan­gon Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein, rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Direc­torate of in­vest­ment and com­pany ad­min­is­tra­tion (DICA) and the UMFCCI, as well as gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

USABC met UMFCCI to dis­cuss var­i­ous sec­tors, in­clud­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­sur­ance, bank­ing, le­gal ser­vices, power supply, medicine, IT, food pro­duc­tion, cos­metic, au­to­mo­tive and oil and gas.

UMFCCI mem­bers ex­plained the cur­rent eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Myan­mar and the mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.

U Maung Maung Lay, vice pres­i­dent of UMFCCI, said that there’s a good chance for Amer­i­can firms to pen­e­trate Myan­mar and he wel­comes those com­pa­nies be­cause “they are re­li­able and ac­count­able.”

The busi­ness mis­sion in­cludes Ab­bot, AIG, Baker Mckenzie, Chevron, Coca-cola, Exxonmo­bil, Ford, GE, GM, Jh­piego, Kim­berly-clark, Mi­crosoft and Visa.

U Wai Phyo, another vice pres­i­dent of UMFCCI, said that com­pa­nies are in­ter­ested in Myan­mar’s dig­i­tal econ­omy.

Myan­mar needs to put in place busi­ness-friendly reg­u­la­tions in or­der to strengthen in­vestor con­fi­dence and at­tract more for­eign in­vest­ments, U Zaw Moe Khine, chair and CEO of Pa­cific AA Mo­tor Ltd, the of­fi­cial dealer of Chevro­let in the coun­try, said.

Ap­proved FDI from the US in Myan­mar lags be­hind many Asian and Euro­pean coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from DICA in terms of ap­proved FDI, Sin­ga­pore in­vested US$1711 mil­lion in Myan­mar while China in­vested $841 mil­lion, the Nether­lands in­vested $519 mil­lion, the UK in­vested $204 mil­lion and the US in­vested $128 mil­lion dur­ing the fis­cal year 2017-18 fis­cal year, as of Oc­to­ber this year.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Amer­i­can busi­nesses are also wary of the Rakhine con­flict which has plunged part of the coun­try into a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

On Oc­to­ber 19, share­holder ac­tivists at Chevron Corp pressed the US oil ma­jor to dis­cuss an Au­gust 31 let­ter they had sent to the com­pany ask­ing it to con­sider cut­ting ties with “gov­ern­ments com­plicit in geno­cide,” Reuters re­ported. The share­hold­ers have asked Chevron to pres­sure the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment for a so­lu­tion for the cri­sis.

Chevron Uno­cal Myan­mar Off­shore Co, has projects that in­clude a mi­nor­ity in­ter­est in nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­tion and a pipe­line, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site. Reuters quoted the ac­tivist share­hold­ers as say­ing that they are “grow­ing in­creas­ingly con­cerned over the lack of a con­struc­tive re­sponse from Chevron” on their re­quests since the let­ter was sent.

The US-ASEAN Busi­ness Coun­cil hosted a panel on ASEAN’S Dig­i­tal Econ­omy on No­vem­ber 30. Photo: Sup­plied

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