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We intend to produce a reference documentary film on the economic development in Myanmar.
This film will include interviews of important economic operators installed in the country for many years familiar with the Burmese economy. They will talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the local economy; its potential and eventual investment brakes.
But the film will also highlight that Burma has massive economic potential. It has one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world, as well as other minerals, and is geographically well positioned to be a gateway for trade.
Burma sits indeed between India and China, with ports on the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea. If developed with more rail and pipeline projects, Burma could link Asean with India and the rest of South Asia.
The film will naturally include images of the main economic centers of the capital Yangon (the business district, the port, the city center…) as well as tourist places most taken (Shwedagon Pagoda, Golden Rock Kyaikto, Yangon circular train Karaweik Palace Kandawgyi Park) insofar Burma’s industries such as tourism have not been developed to their full potential.
Prosperous country in the 1950s, Burma is now one of the poorest countries in the region. However, the country has significant advantages: abundant raw materials (mining, timber, oil and gas), a market of over 62 million consumers, a skilled cheap labor and a strong regional integration, because of its membership in ASEAN since 1997 and its close ties with China and India.
Moreover, the inauguration of the new government in March 2011, preceded in 2010 by a movement of privatization has been accompanied by an acceleration of economic reforms. A floating exchange rate was introduced on 1 April 2012. Taxation on trade has been simplified and reduced.
The system for granting import licenses relating to export earnings has been relaxed. President Thein Sein is committed to making the economy a priority in a second wave of reforms in response to the interest of major international companies after the lifting of U.S. and European sanctions.
A law on foreign investment was adopted on 7 September 2012, supposed to encourage capital inflows, raising a number of barriers to investment in agriculture, fisheries, industry and tourism. International financial institutions and the government are in talks for several months about the resolution of the debt Burma to allow the resumption of lending.
The Paris Club and the Burmese government signed an important agreement on January 24, canceling 60% of Burma’s debt. The rest will be rescheduled over fifteen years. This agreement is another sign of the confidence that the international community is giving to the reformist regime in Burma. And with the gradual opening up to competition, the Burmese government plans an annual growth of 7.7% over five years.
For a long time, few Western companies were operating in Burma. This period of time is over. A new process has been activated and, for sure, nobody is willing to stop it for now. Burma is a new land of opportunities with a huge potential, as was Vietnam in early 90’s when it started to open itself to the outside world.