Cos­met­ics as­so­ci­a­tion sees un­cer­tain fu­ture

The Myanmar Times - - Business - – Myat Noe Oo

The Myan­mar Cos­met­ics As­so­ci­a­tion is de­mand­ing the gov­ern­ment pro­tect the in­dus­try from foreign com­pe­ti­tion, which it says could de­stroy small and medium-sized lo­cal firms.

The Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion (MIC) pro­vides a list of in­dus­tries that foreign-owned firms can in­vest in, as well as those that re­quire a joint ven­ture with a lo­cal op­er­a­tor and those that are com­pletely off-lim­its.

The cos­met­ics sec­tor is not men­tioned any­where on that list, said U Kyaw Min, chair of the Myan­mar Cos­met­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (MCA).

That means foreign firms, by de­fault, are al­lowed to en­ter the Myan­mar mar­ket, which could put lo­cal firms out of busi­ness, he said.

“We know Myan­mar needs foreign in­vest­ment and we wel­come it in the cos­met­ics sec­tor be­cause it helps busi­ness grow,” he said. “But we want there to be joint ven­tures. In­dus­try op­er­a­tors will not put up with 100pc owned foreign com­pa­nies.”

The MCA made its re­quest to the MIC in June, but has yet to re­ceive a re­sponse, he added.

U Aye Lwin, a mem­ber of the MIC, said omis­sions on the MIC no­ti­fi­ca­tion list are a re­sult of in­trin­sic prob­lems in the law-mak­ing process.

Myan­mar laws are not wa­ter­tight, not enough time is taken to con­sider all the is­sues and some law­mak­ers are not busi­ness­peo­ple, he said.

If a sec­tor is not cov­ered by the list, it does al­low wholly foreign-owned com­pa­nies to en­ter that mar­ket, but U Aye Lwin said he would raise the is­sue for the cos­met­ics in­dus­try.

“I’ll dis­cuss this prob­lem in [MIC] meet­ings and try my best,” he said.

The MIC is­sues no­ti­fi­ca­tions up­dat­ing the list of sec­tors and the level of foreign in­vest­ment per­mit­ted. The last up­date was in March this year.

The MCA was formed in Au­gust 2015 in or­der to ad­dress is­sues with gov­ern­ment pol­icy at the in­dus­try­wide level, ac­cord­ing to vice chair U Win Naing.

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