AMCHAM Myanmar Presents Recommendations to Government Officials on Improving Ease of Doing Business in Myanmar
Yangon, Myanmar, 26 June 2019 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (AMCHAM Myanmar) today hosted a forum under the theme of ‘Improving the Ease of Doing Business in Myanmar’. Held at the Melia Hotel Yangon, the forum provided a platform for AMCHAM’s leadership committee to engage in intimate discussions with senior Myanmar Government officials on ways to improve the ease of doing business in Myanmar, lower the cost of doing business and ultimately attract more U.S. investment.
The forum discussions were guided by a Policy Recommendation Paper developed by AMCHAM Myanmar which outlines specific recommendations on business opportunities and ways to tackle immediate challenges to enable businesses to thrive. A range of topics were discussed including taxation, employment, financial services, and trade across a number of sectors.
Among the attendees of the forum were H.E. U Soe Thein, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar, H.E. Dr. Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Union Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, H.E U Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce and U Minn Minn, Director General, Ministry of Commerce.
H.E. Scot Marciel, U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, delivered the opening remarks for the forum, sharing, “American businesses do business the way Myanmar people tell us they want business done. In terms of trade, investment and tourism, AMCHAM is a great partner, doing a lot not only to promote U.S. business but to improve the business environment in Myanmar.”
Discussions at the forum were focused on three key themes which AMCHAM Myanmar identified as areas for improvement to encourage greater investment in the country.
Optimization of Processes
AMCHAM Myanmar suggested ways to streamline procedures and implement clear standard operating procedures (SOPs) to make day-to-day transactions easier and more efficient. Specific recommendations that were discussed included establishing a one-stop Visa Center to process business and work visas for foreigners working at local companies and streamlining the required documentation for commercial tax.
AMCHAM Myanmar also proposed for SOPs to be publicly available with clear guidelines and timelines, and that SOPs are cross-referenced between related ministries to avoid duplication and roadblocks.
Said H.E. Dr. Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Union Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation on improving government SOPs – “We are working towards improving our SOPs and to establish a better understanding between the central and local governments. We aim to establish stronger relationships with local authorities and to consult them for recommendations on implementing SOPs.”
Regulatory Clarity and Consistency
AMCHAM Myanmar recommended ways to improve drafting, dissemination and implementation of laws. For example, AMCHAM Myanmar suggested that the interpretation of labor laws be clarified and standardized across all township offices to ensure consistent implementation.
In addition, AMCHAM Myanmar proposed for an institutionalized process to develop new legislation which includes a reasonable period for broad public consultation, and which takes into account feedback from the private sector and the foreign investment community.
Shared H.E U Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, on working closely with the business community to share information and address feedback – “We appreciate the efforts of AMCHAM Myanmar to share their recommendations and we plan to engage more regularly with members of the foreign business community moving forward.”
H.E. U Soe Thein, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar on improving transparency in policy development for the finance industry – “Over recent years, we have published many documents, directives and regulatory updates on our website for companies to access. We will soon publish additional market data such as statistical indicators of GDP and inflation rate, along with our latest monetary policy and sustainability report. During the process of drafting regulations, we typically distribute our first draft of the policy to stakeholders such as banks, auditor generals and law firms to request for their recommendations. We take their feedback into account when finalizing the regulation and provide detailed responses to address questions received.”
“We are looking at introducing best practices of neighboring countries to support our reform agenda. Recently, we launched an online system to facilitate easier and paperless applications of trade licenses. We conducted a successful pilot project of the online system with more than 100 garment factories located in different industrial zones and now, these companies do not have to visit our office to submit a license application,” said U Minn Minn, Director General, Ministry of Commerce.
Getting Sufficient and Reliable Electricity:
While power generation projects have accelerated recently, AMCHAM Myanmar highlighted power supply as a key focus area to meet the growing demand and as a vital requirement to sustain business operations.
“We are encouraged by the positive economic reforms implemented in Myanmar in recent years and today’s forum allowed us to share not only our understanding about the needs of businesses on the ground but objective reforms and procedural changes which will improve the business environment. Beyond this forum, AMCHAM Myanmar would like to support the Myanmar Government with their existing plans to improve the ease of doing business. We believe our contributions will help to strengthen investor confidence from the U.S. and other markets. I wish to thank the AMCHAM Myanmar team for supporting the development of the Policy Recommendation Paper and to the government officials for engaging in dialogue with us,” said U Khin Maung Win, President, AMCHAM Myanmar.
Following today’s forum, AMCHAM Myanmar will publish the full Policy Recommendation Paper in the coming weeks and engage with the relevant government ministries and departments about possible implementation of the recommendations.
About AMCHAM Myanmar
The American Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (AMCHAM Myanmar) was established on 31 October 2013. To date, more than 170 companies employing more than 20,000 Myanmar nationals have joined the Chamber. These companies represent a diverse collection of industries and nationalities, with a common goal to expand American business and promote the highest business standards in Myanmar. For more information, visit www.amchammyanmar.com