US Delegation Looks to Boost Investment in Myanmar

By Nan Lwin 28 October 2020

YANGON — After a two-day visit to Myanmar, a delegation led by a US development agency says it hopes to boost post-coronavirus investment in the country and increase reengagement given its strategic location.

The government delegation led by Adam Boehler, chief executive of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), met State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the minister for investment and foreign economic relations U Thaung Tun and min-ister for planning, finance and industry U Soe Win and other senior figures in Naypyitaw.

The US Embassy in Yangon said DFC’s main agenda was to ex-plore investment opportunities and “underscore the long-term US commitment to invest in Myanmar’s economic development” to provide a strong foundation for the country’s continued democrati-zation.

A statement from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the two sides dis-cussed boosting bilateral relations and cooperation through the DFC’s investment and technical assistance.

According to the Ministry for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER), DFC plans to invest up to US$60 billion (77.5 trillion kyats) in development projects in lower-income countries, including Myanmar. Boehler said it was time “to reengage and greatly increase the DFC’s engagement in Myanmar”.

The Indo-Pacific is a priority investment region, the DFC said.

The US delegation and their Myanmar hosts after a meeting in Naypyitaw on Oct 27, 2020. / MIFER

The embassy said the delegation met business leaders from the American Chamber of Commerce and discussed ways to improve market access and increase investment in Myanmar. The delega-tion included the chairman of the US Export-Import Bank and US government treasury, international trade and commerce repre-sentatives.

U Thaung Tun said Myanmar will welcome the DFC’s investment and invited the agency “to play a significant role in the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery”.

Naypyitaw is drafting its Myanmar Economic Recovery and Re-form Plan in response to the economic damage caused by coro-navirus, including measures to invite responsible foreign direct in-vestment and to develop more special economic zones.

Myanmar showed the US delegation an overview of potential in-vestment opportunities in the energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors, MIFER said.

It added that the US delegation is keen to invest in IT, telecommu-nications and other areas of digital infrastructure.

As of September, the US was the 10th-largest source of foreign di-rect investment in Myanmar with nearly $330 million (426 billion kyats) invested in six enterprises since 2017, according to the Di-rectorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), the government’s investment agency.

According to DICA, Myanmar received nearly $5.7 billion (7.4 tril-lion kyats), around $110 million (142 billion kyats) short of its target in 2019-20. As of September, Singapore – which is often used as a conduit by other countries – is the largest investor in Myanmar, fol-lowed by China and Hong Kong.

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