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Doing Business in Myanmar

Myanmar is catching up on decades of underdevelopment and this presents opportunities for Danish companies in a broad range of sectors. However, this is also a challenging market. Danish companies should be aware of the risks of doing business in Myanmar and develop a long term business plan which takes them into account.

After the launch of political and economic reforms, Myanmar was reintegrated in the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences programme in July 2013 which entails import tax exemptions to the EU. The EU has eased sanctions against Myanmar and only maintains sanctions on trade in arms and military equipment. The US has a more extensive sanctions programme, but it was further eased in May 2016. You can read more about the US sanctions here.

Myanmar has several factors making it intriguing from a Danish business perspective, such as a wealth of natural resources and great agricultural potential. Furthermore, the large population and growing middle class constitutes a promising market for western goods, food and other products such as Danish design. There are also good possibilities for Danish companies in the garment, renewable energy, agricultural, water/waste treatment and infrastructure sectors. The Trade Council in Yangon stands ready to assist Danish companies with an ambition to gain a foothold in this new market.

Doing business in Myanmar is however challenging, as problems still persist with corruption, weak public institutions and bureaucracy. The legal framework for doing business and protection of intellectual property rights are also generally weak and outdated in Myanmar, so it is essential to seek proper counsel and legal advice before setting up a business. Furthermore, the bank and financial sectors in the country are outdated, and both infrastructure (physical as well as technical) and human capital still poses major challenges due to underdevelopment and lack of capacity. Doing business in Myanmar is a long term project which companies have to be properly prepared and suited for. The Trade Council in Yangon can assist you with advice and support in this regard.