Western Business Chambers Call for More Foreign Investment in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 8 February 2019

YANGON—A joint letter was officially issued by seven major international chambers of commerce in Myanmar on Tuesday, stressing the importance of foreign direct investment for the country and briefly outlining the chambers’ work with eligible investors which support Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan.

The letter, signed by top-level members of the European, French, German, Italian, American, Australian and British chambers of commerce, states the important role foreign direct investment plays in the country’s growth and development. The letter’s release comes one week after the government-organized Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 and three weeks before an investment forum for Rakhine State is to be held in Sittwe, the state capital.

“Having been in isolation for so long Myanmar now requires the broad regeneration of its economy to meet the demands of modern-day trade,” the letter states.

According to the letter, there is a growth in the number of Western companies choosing to “participate rather than isolate” regarding investments in Myanmar. This growth comes following a dramatic drop of interest from Western investors after the violence in northern Rakhine State in 2017 and the ensuing flight of over 750,000 Rohingya refugees to neighboring Bangladesh.

The letter says Western investors help the economy by establishing international standards in corporate governance and refers to Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan and the need to provide better employment opportunities in order to improve livelihoods here.

Revenues from exports would increase if Myanmar were to transition away from exporting raw agricultural products to value-added goods. Many of the chambers’ member companies, which include more that 600 organizations from 30 countries, are exporters of such goods and services, according to the letter.