Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 5 December 2020

Myanmar has relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions this week as businesses struggle for survival during the pandemic.

In other business news, China has expressed its enthusiasm about working with Myanmar’s newly elected government in the implementation of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. Myanmar will also reopen transport offices in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw to provide vehicle registrations.

Meanwhile, more than 8,000 tea shops and restaurants in townships without stay-at-home orders can resume operations if they meet COVID-19 preventative guidelines.

However, Myanmar has extended its ban on flights until the end of December.

China vows to cooperate with Myanmar

China has been seeking deeper cooperation with the National League for Democracy during its second term in government, including on the implementation of its BRI projects.

Meanwhile, China has promised to open its market to Myanmar’s exports under China’s next five-year development plan.

Chinese ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai recently wrote in Myanmar’s state-owned media that China will implement its next economic and social development plan in 2021 as the new Myanmar government is being formed.

China and Myanmar have agreed to move forward with key projects under the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), which is a part of the BRI, the grand infrastructure plans of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chen said China is ready to carry out the agreements reached during Xi’s visit to Myanmar, strengthen synergy between China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and Myanmar’s development strategy, and deepen pragmatic cooperation in all areas.

All clear to eat out

Myanmar’s Central Committee for Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 has allowed tea shops and restaurants to allow customers to dine on their premises in townships which are not under stay-at-home orders.

Myanmar on Sept. 21 ordered all tea shops and restaurants across the country to offer only takeaways.

Stay-at-home orders have been imposed in 75 townships, including the whole of Yangon Region and Rakhine State.

Many eateries have been forced to close permanently as they failed to survive COVID-19 restrictions.

The committee said on Wednesday that 8,017 tea shops and restaurants that meet COVID-19 preventative measures will be allowed to resume operations on Dec. 4.

Vehicle registration reopens

On Tuesday, Myanmar reopened road and transport administration offices in Yangon, Naypyitaw and Mandalay to provide initial vehicle registrations.

Road and Transport Administration Department said on Nov. 28 that it was only using online bookings to avoid crowding at its offices.

Since mid-September, Myanmar closed all road and transport administration offices.

The sale of new vehicles had been halted due to the suspension of initial registration.

Suzuki Myanmar last month said it will pause manufacturing because the suspension of vehicle registration meant new owners could not register purchases.

Myanmar extends flights ban

Myanmar’s Central Committee for Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 has extended the suspension of international flights until the end of December.

International flights were suspended in late March after the country’s first COVID-19 case was reported on March 23.

Domestic flights were also suspended until Dec. 15 after being grounded in early September as case numbers rose.

Relief, cargo and special flights are allowed.

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