Posted by: mulrickillion | February 12, 2012

Myanmar’s democratic reforms attract Taiwan, Vietnam investors

2012/02/11 — Hanoi, Feb. 11 (CNA) As Myanmar undergoes democratic reforms and adopts a more open door policy, it has attracted an increasing number of investors from Taiwan and Vietnam.

Since the country’s reforms began last March, many Vietnamese and Taiwanese investors are optimistic about Myanmar’s market, but are waiting for the United States to lift sanctions imposed on the country, said Liu Wen-ta, a Taiwan businessman who has been investing in Myanmar’s glass fiber industry for over a decade.

The former ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council, which held onto power for 23 years, dissolved itself in March 2011, and the country is now going through a phase of democratic transition.

In 1988, the U.S. placed different sanctions including visa bans, economic and financial sanctions on Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to protest human rights violations committed by the military junta.

Myanmar has good law and order, good quality workers and lower wages than neighboring countries, said Liu.

New factory employees are usually paid a monthly salary of US$60 to US$70, and many of these workers are ethnic Chinese from China’s Yunnan Province, which helps reduce language barriers and management risks for Taiwanese businessman, Liu added.

The Southeast Asian nation has also seen a rapid growth in the real estate market, Liu said, adding, in some cases, property is worth 10 times its original value. Landowners have become wealthy, even though many places in the country are still underdeveloped, Liu stated.

Liu estimated there were 200 Taiwan businessman in the former British colony.

Myanmar has not restricted the maximum investment foreigners can make in the country, but has restricted land use and the length of leases, and it can be difficult for foreign investors to obtain land, said an unnamed Taiwan businessman.

However, local investors can obtain long-term leases that can run for 30 to 60 years, or even indefinitely, the businessman added.

Besides investments from Taiwan businessman, Vietnamese businesses are also taking the lead and pouring investment into Myanmar.

High ranking officials from Myanmar and Vietnam signed a bilateral cooperation agreement in April 2010. In the agreement, Myanmar encouraged Vietnam companies to invest in the country’s agriculture, basic infrastructure and natural gas industry.

By 2015, bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to reach US$500 million.

At present, the Myanmar government does not allow foreign banks in the country. However, Vietnam banks might be the first to obtain permits to set up establishments in the country, reflecting the friendly relations between the countries, said a Vietnamese investment consultant based in Myanmar.

(By Fang Pei-ching and C.J. Lin)

Myanmar’s democratic reforms attract Taiwan, Vietnam investors – CNA ENGLISH NEWS

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