A new foreign investment law, an open telecommunications license tender and the exchange rate float, all in the past two years, have shown the government’s focused interest on developing the necessary legal, financial, and policy measures for attracting foreign investment and boosting the economy. A budding young labour force, abundant natural resources and a strategic geographic position at the heart of high-growth Asia give the country the potential to be a key global player in the coming decades. Official figures report that economic growth for FY2012/13 was 7.6%. In 2012, agriculture made the greatest contribution to GDP at 33% of the total. Thanks in part to the large informal economy, SOEs account for over two-thirds of government revenues, with tax receipts at a modest 3.3% of GDP. Recent years have seen large investment projects developed by Asian investors, but the new Foreign Investment Law of August 2012 has caught the attention of larger Western firms looking for exposure to the next frontier high-growth market. Myanmar has just begun its development process and, although growth will be strong, there are still many legal and regulatory measures that need to be taken before Western firms consider it to be largely risk free.
This chapter contains interviews with U Soe Thane, Minister of the President’s Office and Former Chairman, Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC); Dr Kan Zaw, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development; Serge Pun, Chairman, Serge Pun and Associates (Myanmar); and Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General, ASEAN.