Business

AmCham, UMFCCI to Host Conference on US Investment

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 1 June 2016

RANGOON — After a successful meeting between American Chamber of Commerce Myanmar (AmCham) members and high-ranking Burmese government officials last month, a new summit to feature Burmese economists and US businesspeople has been set for next Monday in Rangoon.

The conference will be hosted at the offices of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), a powerful trade organization, to discuss the opportunities and challenges for US companies doing business and investing in Burma.

“This will be a big [conference] as economists and business executives will discuss the challenges of investing here,” Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the UMFCCI, told the Irrawaddy.

“Many US delegations are coming to Myanmar now, so we will have to do many things to persuade them to invest here, such as encouraging the government to provide basic infrastructure,” he said.

Burma’s top businesspeople and experts will be participating in the conference, he added.

A US business delegation led by AmCham met with the newly-elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government in Naypyidaw in May to discuss ways to improve the business environment in Burma and increase direct investment from the US, according to an AmCham statement.

The business delegation applauded the government’s legal and policy reforms aimed at boosting economic growth and recommended further strengthening of the legal framework for foreign ownership and improvements in infrastructure.

Zaw Lin Htut, chief executive officer of the Myanmar Payment Union, said more US businesses will come to Burma because the US government has already started to lift economic sanctions.

“They [the US government] have begun easing sanctions and have lifted the investment limit from US$500,000 to $5 million, which has piqued many investors’ interest,” he said.

In AmCham’s statement, GE International’s Chief Country Representative in Yangon Andrew Lee wrote, “The American business community is appreciative of the recent relaxation of a number of financial and trade embargoes imposed by the US government; however, more normalization is needed to allow US interests in Myanmar to flourish by leveling the playing field with other international companies.”

At last month’s meeting, delegates from 30 US companies met with the heads of several important government ministries, as well as the chairman of the Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission Shwe Mann.

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