Friday, 29 November 2013

Myanmar’s Weak Legislation a “Lucky Strike” for Foreign Tobacco Giants

For international tobacco companies struggling in their home markets with low sales due to an increasing awareness about the dangers of smoking, Myanmar is an exciting business opportunity.

In July, British American Tobacco, the world’s second largest cigarette manufacturer, signed a $50 million investment deal to produce, market, and sell its brand in Myanmar over the next five years, according to AP. The company plans to construct a factory on the outskirts of Yangon. The year before, Japan Tobacco entered into a partnership with local tycoon, Kyaw Win, and is building a factory. Even China’s largest tobacco producer is planning a multi-million-dollar joint venture.

Myanmar, India hold seminar on tripartite highway

Scholars from Myanmar and India have held a seminar on India-Myanmar-Thailand tripartite highway expected to be operational in 2016, state media reported Friday.

The proposed highway from India's Moreh to Thailand's Maesot via Myanmar's Tamu and Myawaddy was conceived at the trilateral ministerial meeting on transport linkages in Yangon in April 2002. It represents a significant step in establishing connectivity between India and South East Asian countries.

Malaysian Exporters Eye Myanmar for Trade Growth

Myanmar offers great potential as a greenfield market with regards to both its products and services, according to the chief of Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency.

Speaking with Myanmar Business Today on the sidelines of International Trade (INTRADE) Malaysia 2013, which was hosted in Kuala Lumpur this week, Dr Wong Lai Sum, CEO of Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (MATRADE), said trade is growing between the two countries and the formerly-isolated nation offers great opportunities to Malaysia for business.

New Light of Myanmar (29 Nov 2013 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (29 Nov 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (29 Nov 2013 - Friday)

World Bank launches Investment Climate Assessment in Myanmar

The World Bank Group has launched an enterprise survey in Myanmar to assess the business environment and barriers facing firms doing business in Myanmar.

The survey is part of the World Bank’s Investment Climate Assessment with funding from the UK Department of International Development (UK Aid). The survey includes interviews with almost 1400 manufacturing and services companies, both domestic and foreign, small and large in Myanmar. The survey results and analysis will help inform government policy to promote investment, productivity and economic growth.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

AAA takes minority stake in Myanmar Allure Group

All Asia Asset Capital has, through a special purpose wholly owned subsidiary, acquired a minority stake in Myanmar Allure Group Co.

MAG is a privately held company based in Thailand and Myanmar, which operates in the hospitality and entertainment business. MAG owns and operates the Allure Resort, a combined hotel, resort and gaming facilities located in Tachileik province, Myanmar, in the vicinity of the Thailand-Myanmar Mae Sai border.

Japan helps Myanmar maintain railroads

Yangon: Japan has provided modern railway equipment to Myanmar to help the country maintain its railroads, media reported Thursday.

Equipment worth 5.327 million yen (about $53,270) was provided by the Japan International Transport Institute (JITI) to the state-run Myanmar Railways, reported Xinhua.

New Light of Myanmar (28 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (28 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (28 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

Rice Bowl Plan Brings Myanmar Back to the Future: Southeast Asia

Myanmar plans to more than double rice shipments as the country that used to be the largest exporter embraces trade and opens its economy, challenging Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for sales amid a global glut.

Shipments may increase to 2.5 million metric tons in 2014-2015 from an estimated 1.8 million tons in the year that started April 1, according to Toe Aung Myint, director general of the department of trade promotion at the Ministry of Commerce. Exports are targeted to increase to 4.8 million tons in 2019-2020, Toe said in an interview in Hong Kong.

Myawady border bridge to extend opening hours

The opening hours of the Myawady-Mae Sot Friendship Bridge will be extended for the convenience of travellers, according to border officials.

As one of the border gates between Myanmar and Thailand, the bridge connects the border towns of Myawady with Mae Sot, Tak Province.

SingPost launches remittance services to Myanmar

SINGAPORE, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Singapore Post (SingPost) has launched remittance services to Myanmar, it said on Wednesday.

The post services provider is partnering four commercial banks in Myanmar, such as Asia Green Development Bank, Cooperative Bank, Kanbawza Bank and Tun Foundation Bank.

Co-operative Bank testing new mobile banking service

Co-operative Bank is currently testing its new mobile banking service pending approval, according to deputy general manager Oo Thein Myint.

They will be the first bank to offer mobile banking services in Myanmar.

Leapfrogging to the Future: Myanmar Telecoms Reform

Introduction

Until recently, Myanmar found itself ranked alongside countries such as Somalia and North Korea, as a very unattractive place for foreign investment. Run by a quasi-Marxist military dictatorship since a coup in 1962, its telecoms sector was woefully starved of investment and expertise. Basic mobile voice coverage was less than 5 per cent, and internet access penetration less than that. With SIM cards changing hands for prices in excess of US$3,000, affordable telephony, let alone connectivity, was a distant dream for the average Myanmar citizen.

Rice exports fall short of 2.5 mln tonnes against target

Rice exports are falling short of 2.5 million tonnes against the set target of 3 million tonnes for this fiscal year.

"Myanmar exported just over 410,000 tonnes of rice during the last eight months. It is half of the figure of the same period last year," said Dr Soe Tun, secretary general of Myanmar Rice Federation.

AIRPORTS IN MYANMAR SET TO BE PUT UP FOR SALE IN JANUARY

According to reports the Myanmar government has put half the Asian country’s airports up for sale.

The Myanmar Times has reported the Ministry of Transportation will open tenders in January for private ownership of 30 domestic airports.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Ahead of Elections, Thilawa Pitched as Jobs Booster

RANGOON — Officials hope that the soon-to-start “Special Economic Zone” at Thilawa near Burma’s commercial capital Rangoon will underpin a jobs boom in time for the country’s 2015 elections.

Building work at the 6,000-acre Thilawa SEZ will begin soon, according to Set Aung, deputy governor of Burma’s Central Bank. Set Aung told The Irrawaddy that “we hope that construction will be finished by 2015 and that commercial operations at Thilawa will have commenced by then.”

Mitsubishi to build massive power plant in Myanmar with Egco, ITD

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp will build a large fossil-fuel-fired power station in Myanmar's Dawei special economic zone via a joint venture with two Thai companies.

Mitsubishi will team up with Electricity Generating and Italian-Thai Development to set up the new entity as early as next year, taking stakes of 30 per cent, 50 per cent and 20 per cent. Outlays could reach 1 trillion yen (Bt315 billion).

World Bank survey to assess Myanmar’s investment climate

The World Bank has begun a survey of more than 1300 companies to help identify barriers to doing business in Myanmar, it announced in Yangon on November 25.

One of the objectives of the survey is to determine the main obstacles to growth for small businesses, the bank said in a statement.

Other objectives of the survey include identifying the main barriers to exports and determining how productivity and labor costs in Myanmar compare to other countries, it said.

Power shortages hold Myanmar back

The recent protests in Yangon against a hike in electricity charges have shed some light on Myanmar's serious power crisis.

In the past three years Myanmar has witnessed the suspension of the Chinese-invested Myitsone dam project, mass demonstrations against blackouts in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, and protests against the rate rise.

Unilever Food Solutions looks to double B2B in Myanmar every two years

Unilever Food Solutions aims to double its business-to-business deals every two years in Myanmar, said Prasith Preechachalieo, managing director for Thailand, Indochina and Vietnam.

He said the company, which is a unit of Unilever Thai Trading Ltd, began doing business in Myanmar in 2010, focusing on the restaurant market. Serving 200 restaurants in 2011, that number has grown to 1,000 this year. It targets doubling its operations every two years after joining with the Myanmar Restaurant Association (MRA) to promote its products.

New Light of Myanmar (27 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (27 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (27 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

Establishing a company in Myanmar

Myanmar is at an important political and economic crossroads. Spearheaded by the reform-minded government of President Thein Sein, Myanmar has set a path toward a more liberalized democracy, greater political reconciliation, and the promotion of a mixed, internationally linked economy.

Kyaukpyu SEZ project to provide 58,000 jobs

The Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project will provide about 58,000 jobs by the end of 2016 when the first stage is expected to be completed, according to Kyaukpyu SEZ Administration Committee.

The project is divided into three stages. The first will last between 2014-2016, the second will be from 2017-2020 and the third from 2021 to 2025.

Philips Links With Partners to Light Up Burma

RANGOON — Dutch electronics giant Philips has teamed up with local partners to bring more of its products to Burma, as the brand looks to take advantage of the Southeast Asian nation’s growing demand for lighting.

In a ceremony in the former capital Monday, the 120-year-old firm signed up with three companies who will distribute its lighting products. Pahatma Group will supply the consumer market, while the service and commercial sectors will be served by JJ-Pun and Power Light, according to a statement.

IMF chief to pay first visit to Myanmar

Washington — IMF chief Christine Lagarde will next month pay her first visit to Myanmar as the once authoritarian government pursues reforms that have fueled growth, the global lender said Tuesday.

Lagarde will visit Myanmar's showcase capital Naypyidaw and its largest city Yangon during the December 6-7 visit, which will come after stops in South Korea and Cambodia.

Japan to provide US$ 6 million for National Single Window

Japan has offered US$ 6 million in assistance and technical aid to Myanmar to establish National Single Window, according to retired director of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Brunei will establish an ASEAN Single Window at ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will start in December 31, 2015.

Highway Holdings Receives Approval From European Customer to Utilize Myanmar Operations for Manufacturing

HONG KONG, Nov 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- Highway Holdings Limited HIHO -4.53% today announced it has received approval from one of its leading European Fortune 500 customers for assembly manufacturing of one series of electric synchronous motors at the company's subcontracting facility in Myanmar.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Customs Hill takes its place on tourist circuit

Rarely visited by tourists in the past, Customs Hill south of Pyay is now becoming popular with foreign travellers and looks set to become a major fixture on Myanmar’s tourist trail, an official from the Union of Myanmar Travel Association told The Myanmar Times earlier this month.

Customs Hill (Akauk Taung) is an area along the Ayeyarwaddy River where, during the 19th century, dozens of Buddha images were carved into the cliff walls overlooking the waterway.

Yaw Min Gyi area growing in line with foreign tastes

A stroll down Yaw Min Gyi Street in Dagon township is a time lapse in action that doubles as a succinct progress report showcasing the invincible health of Yangon’s booming property development.

Crumbling red-brick villas, with cavernous bay-windows eyeing the hungry jungle vines that do a better job holding the structure together than the decades-old mortar, give way to shiny new condo developments careening ever upward.

Myanmar moves to bring finances out of the shadows

With wide-ranging reforms set to improve the transparency of Myanmar’s public finances, the government is expected to launch a drive aimed at bringing businesses into the mainstream economy.

The state’s budget remained opaque for decades under military rule, prompting most nationals to avoid paying taxes and shunning public services.

India's Myanmar envoy bats for reciprocal flight service

Imphal, November 24 2013: Noting that Tulihal Airport is officially in the international aviation map with the maiden landing of the Golden Myanmar flight from Mandalay recently, Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhyay expressed that it is right time for the Indian Airlines to chart out a plan for direct flight operation from Imphal to Mandalay as reciprocal gesture.

Myanmar President to undertake state visit to PHL

Myanmar President Thein Sein will be in Manila for a two-day state visit next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

Thein Sein, whom President Benigno Aquino III invited to visit, will be in the country from December 4 to 6, a DFA statement said.

Myanmar’s Work Hopes Still Up in the Air

PANTANAW/YANGON — U Than Zaw shook his head as he stared across the waterlogged fields. “Over there, that’s where my land is,” he said, swinging a tattooed arm out through the bamboo frame of a waterside hut.

We were standing just off the road linking Yangon, Myanmar’s heaving commercial capital, with Pantanaw, a flood-prone farming township in Ayeyarwady Region, famous as the birthplace of former UN Secretary General U Thant.

New Light of Myanmar (26 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (26 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alnn Daily (26 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanmar Launches Initiative for Natural World Heritage

Nay Pyi Taw: Seven natural sites have been identified for Myanmar’s World Heritage “Tentative List” during a meeting conducted in Nay Pyi Taw to launch the World Heritage process for natural heritage in the country. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) and UNESCO on November 21-22, 2013, with cooperation from IUCN and the Norwegian Environmental Agency.

Yangon airport to receive upgrade next year

The reconstruction of Yangon International Airport’s domestic departure lounge will begin in January next year, according to airport General Manager Win Ko.

"The departure lounge will be brought down and reconstructed entirely. While the new lounge is being built, the lounge provided for VIP will be used as domestic departure lounge," the GM said.

Registering collectively owned land in Myanmar - The Fine Print, Legal & Tax insight

Investors and builders here and abroad are hoping to see the condominium bill publicised on November 10 come into law soon. Along with the Myanmar Foreign Investment Law, the Myanmar Condominium Law provides valuable first-hand information for investors, most of whom have been waiting for the law to pass before developing real estate here. At the same time, the bill raises many important issues and presents some challenges in its current draft state.

SEA Games athletes to be provided free international calling service

VMG Telecoms will offer Ytalk, an international free calling service to athletes participating in the Southeast Asian Games to be hosted in Myanmar next month, according to the VMG director Khant Aung.

Ytalk centres, which are but public phone stands, will be set up in areas where the SEA Games will be held. Users can make unlimited international calls free of charge using Ytalk cards.

Japan Awakes to Revamped Dawei

YANGOON — After last week’s takeover of the proposed Dawei port and economic zone project by the Burma and Thai governments, Japan’s government and private sector are taking a renewed interest in the project after previously appearing lukewarm to the proposition.

Money laundering law to be amended

The Myanmar Police Force is cooperating closely with financial institutions to amend the Control of Money Laundering Law, according to Police Brigadier-General Soe Myaing.

The money laundering law was enacted in 2002 at a time when there was still limited investment in Myanmar. Authorities plan to amend outdated clauses to protect investors' interests and curb the use illegally gained capital.

In Myanmar, Newly Free Media Struggle to Turn a Profit

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s journalists celebrated this year when the government lifted a five-decade ban on private newspapers.

But six months after a dozen dailies rushed into production, journalists who had withstood the wrath and cruelty of a military dictatorship are struggling against something much more mundane: market forces.

Luxembourg invests in Myanmar river cruiser

YANGON - Abercrombie & Kent from Luxembourg has been granted licence to invest in a new river cruiser by the Myanmar Investment Commission on August 15.

Luxembourg, which has not invested in Myanmar in 20 years, provided US$ 5.2 million in cruise liner and other business along Chindwin and Ayeyawady rivers, according to Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA).

Navigating the Tidal Shifts in Myanmar

Keith Hilden, Georgi Ivanov, and Dylan Waller write: Developments of tidal proportions have occurred in Myanmar in recent years, as the country adopted a pivot in its domestic and foreign policy to re-engage with the world. This polar shift occurred after 50 years of isolation under the rule of a military junta that seized power in 1962. Navigating in Myanmar's quickly evolving position is a challenge, because of the dynamically developing environment in which the country finds itself.

Duo of IP firms join Myanmar flood

Another two international firms have joined the growing rush into Myanmar, with UK IP firm Rouse and South East Asian firm Tilleke & Gibbins both expanding into the country.

Rouse’s Myanmar office, based in Yangon, is the firm’s sixteenth location. Led by partner and Thailand country manager Fabrice Mattei, the office will offer filing and prosecution for trade marks, patents designs and geographic indications, as well as portfolio management and IP commercialisation services such as technology transfer.

Govt to finalise alcohol import rules

While the government’s investigation into illegal alcohol import continues to see thousands of bottles of alcohol seized, hefty fines to importers and a possible shortage of alcoholic drinks in Myanmar, plans are afoot to allow proper import before the end of the fiscal year.

Conclave hosted to enhance Manipur-Myanmar business

Imphal, November 22 2013 : A one-day Manipur-Myanmar business conclave was held today at Classic Hotel here which was organized by the Department of Commerce and Industries, Government of Manipur.

Myanmar to spend Ks 33.4 billion budget to host Asean Summits

President's Office has allocated a budget of Ks 33.4 billion (US$34 million) to host Asean Summit after Myanmar took over Asean Chairmanship, a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

Aung Htoo, deputy director-general of Asean Affairs department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he cannot be sure whether the allocated budget will be enough to cover the expenses as Myanmar will be hosting more than 100 meetings next year.

Telecoms still waiting on licences

Prolonged discussions over an operator’s licence between the government and Norwegian-based telecoms operator Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo will result in the highly anticipated networks not becoming operational until at least mid-2014, officials said.

Ooredoo and Telenor are working on roughly the same timeline, saying it would take six and eight months respectively to develop an infrastructure and launch services once it obtains an operator’s licence from the government.

Myanmar receives largest aids from Japan and US

The largest portion of international aids which Myanmar has received since Thein Sein's government took office in 2011 came from Japan and the United States, according to a report from Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

The combined aid funds from the two countries amounted to over US$460 million, said the report.

The long wait for Ooredoo in Myanmar

Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor, the two companies that won the bid for Myanmar’s much-anticipated foreign-offered mobile telecommunications services, haven’t yet been issued their formal licenses although the bidding round dates almost half a year back, Myanmar newspaper The Irrawaddy reported last week.

Myanmar to build the first of its kind car-park

YANGON-Yangon authorities are planning to build a multi-storey car-park in downtown to reduce traffic congestion, according to Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

The car-park, the first of its kind in the country, will be a 15-storey building to be built in a land plot owned by YCDC. It will have the capacity of more than 100 vehicles.

World Bank, ADB say raising electricity price is the only way

With power supply costing the government K185 billion (about US$190 million) a year, international finance institutions said last week that the government would likely need to raise electricity costs in order to maintain growth in line with the country’s development.

The statements from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) come one week after the government shelved a price hike announced at the end of October following a public backlash, while the Ministry of Power has promised parliament to review the proposed increases.

Myanmar ranked lowest on transparency by Revenue Watch

A US-based non-profit organisation Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) has ranked Myanmar the last of 58 countries on transparency and accountability, Myanmar Peace Monitor reported.

Myanmar received a "failing" score of 4 out of 100 on the Resource Governance Index of RWI, which monitors the transparency and accountability of the management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good by the resource-rich nations.

Burma must fight against Kleptocracy

Burma or Myanmar has set out on decisive developmental reforms since it planned the new mission towards a democratic nation. After the government took office in March 2011, reform procedures took place in all chapters especially in political and economic arenas.

Tycoon Tay Za to sue Thuriya Naywon journal for libel

YANGON – Myanmar tycoon Tay Za will take legal charges against a national publication, Thuriya Naywon (The Sun Rays), on libellous ground, Nyi Nyi Aung, spokesperson for Tay Za said yesterday.

Nyi Nyi Aung, also an office head of Htoo Group of Companies owned by Tay Za, said, “Our chairman [Tay Za] wrote about it in his Facebook page. The chairmen will respond with legal action against it [Thuriya Naywon] for person attacks on him.”

Garment exports soar following European Union trade pact

Garment exports have surged since the European Union admitted Myanmar into its generalised system of preferences last April, opening up European markets.

According to U Aung Myint, director of SMC garment manufacturing and member of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers’ Association, Myanmar exported US$400 million worth of garments from May through July, on pace to surpass the $700 million it exported through all of the last financial year.

President’s Office gives the nod to designated silent zones in nation’s commercial hub

YANGON—The President’s Office has agreed in principle to designated silent zones in the nation’s largest city, according to the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

The YCDC has been planning the designation of silent zones in Yangon since the third week of June, after it held a workshop with Yangon Heritage Trust, the Myanmar Engineers Association, and some departments.

Stable growth key to Myanmar's future

I recently returned from a visit to Myanmar. Compared to previous visits in April 2009 when Myanmar was under the military junta and in April 2011 when the democratically elected government had just taken office, the country, which is undergoing political reform and an economic opening-up, has impressed me with its huge potential for development.

Myanmar to provide 24-hour electricity during SEA Games

YANGON—Myanmar will provide 24-hour electricity to the entire nation during 27th SEA Games to be held in December, according to the Ministry of Electric Power.

The SEA Games’ competitions will be held at the major cities—Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, and Mandalay—as well as at Ngwesaung Beach in Ayeyawady Region.

Investors uncertain of Rakhine SEZ

Companies from South Korea, Taiwan, China and India visited Kyut Phyu special economic zone (SEZ) projects in the last month, though they seem uncertain about whether to invest, a Rakhine government official said.

Rakhine State’s national planning and economic development minister, U Maung San Shwe, said companies were researching the possibility of investing in the region and observed the state of construction and electricity in the area.

Switzerland to support Myanmar US$ 2 million to boost labour conditions

YANGON—Switzerland will allocate a budget of almost US$ 2 million (Ks 1.94 billion) over the next three years to improve labour conditions in Myanmar, according to the Embassy of Switzerland.

More than two-thirds of the money will be spent on projects to improve general labour conditions.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Indians eye opportunities in Myanmar

The Mumbai-based Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) is all set to search business opportunities in Myanmar's rapidly growing market. The IMC officials believe that Myanmar's rich natural resources, abundant labour force and strategic location have attracted several Indian industrialists to that country. 

British day out in Yangon

A stroll through the old part of the former capital offers glimpses of the glory days of colonial architecture

"See Bagan and live. See Angkor Wat and die," says my guide Phaphophon Chantharawattanakul, quoting British historian Arnold Toynbee, as he leads me on a stroll through the streets of Old Yangon.

Insurance firms try to solidify before entry of foreign players

Recently opened insurance firms are scrambling to get a foothold in the market ahead of a promise by the government to allow foreign-owned firms to operate in Myanmar by 2015.

Twelve privately run local firms were allowed to open an insurance business starting in June, breaking a 61-year-long monopoly over the market by state-run Myanma Insurance.

Disappointment, complaints mar popular festival

The sun had already risen when our car left the Yangon-Mandalay expressway and drove along Patheingyi Road toward Pyin Oo Lwin.

Many cars and motorcycles roared past us long this mountain road to get to the site of the fire balloon festival. We preferred to rest at the 22-mile stop, to eat breakfast. Pyin Oo Lwin Road, which is part of the Muse-Mandalay highway, is quite an adventure. After passing through the road with its many zigzags, we finally reached the misty Pyin Oo Lwin.

Good relations vital for economic partnership of Manipur, Myanmar

IMPHAL, November 22: Both Myanmar and Manipur showed their common feelings on nurturing good relationship during the Manipur- Myanmar Business Conclave organized by Department of Commerce and Industries at Classic Hotel today.

Historic U Bein Bridge in Mandalay in a ruinous state

U Bein Bridge in Taung Thaman Lake near Mandalay in central Myanmar, a region that gets its fair share of local and foreign visitors, is deteriorating and there is a growing concern that the bridge will collapse.

The historic bridge is located in Mandalay ancient cultural heritage zone and it is well over 160 years. As the time passed, and due to weather and natural disasters, so also riding motor bikes and bicycles on the bridge, caused the bridge to deteriorate.

Japanese business association opens branch in Yangon

The Japan-based Asia Leaders Association (ALA) has opened a Yangon branch, according to a business forum held by the association at Sedona Hotel on November 17.

The ALA has already opened branches in 12 cities in nine Asian countries. The organisation assists small- and medium-sized companies, helping them cooperate on various common issues in order to encourage growth and expansion in Japan, Asia and the global economy.

Myanmar imports more motorbikes from neighboring countries

Myanmar imported more and more motorbikes from its neighboring countries such as China, Thailand and India over the past recent months, according to Ministry of Commerce.

The volume of motorbikes imported through the country’s border towns such as Myeik, Muse, Myawaddy, Kanpeiktee and Tamu has increased notably.

Japan eyes boosting trade, investment in Myanmar

Japanese entrepreneurs are seeking cooperation in boosting trade and investment in Myanmar, official media reported Saturday.

A meeting on bilateral trade conditions was held between U Win Myint, Myanmar minister of economy, and Katsumata Nobuo, chairman of the Japan-Myanmar Economic Committee of KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), said the New Light of Myanmar.

Ministry to cooperate with private companies to generate more power

The Ministry of Electric Power will team up with the private sector to address the problem of power shortages.

Myanmar is expected to consume about 1688 MW in the summer time. But the actual demand is about 2060 MW. Only about 30 per cent of the total households in the country has connected to the national power grid.

EIB to grant loan to SMEs

Delegation signs additional letters of intent for further investment in the future

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend €30-€100 million (US$40-$134 million) a year to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar through local banks, said a joint statement from the EU-Myanmar Task Force last week.

Asia World Co. urges the Government to take back the Nay Pyi Taw Air Port

The Asia World Company, the contractor for the Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, has urged the government to scrap this project which they said will not be profitable because very few airlines fly to this administrative capital.

The Airport is being financed by the loan from China's Import and Export Bank and the Myanmar Government on buyers’ credit system.

Thailand and Myanmar to forge ahead with bilateral cooperation

The Thai-Myanmar joint commission on bilateral cooperation yesterday went ahead with plans to forge closer links between the two countries in areas of border development, capacity building and infrastructure - the first of such meetings in more than a decade.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin co-chaired the meeting in Nay Pyi Taw.

Mongolian employers, Myanmar chambers of commerce find common ground on investment

YANGON—After many years of geographic and economic distance between the two countries, the Myanmar-Mongolia Business Forum and Business Network has done a good job of narrowing the gap, participants say.

The event, jointly organized by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and the Mongolian Employers Federation Association (MEFA), was held at the UMFCCI office on Wednesday. Among the attendees was Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who gave a speech.

Rakhine shrimp farmers reeling from cyclone three years on

Three years since it struck, the effects of Cyclone Giri are still devastating Rakhine State villages. The October 2010 storm laid waste to Myebon township, including the villages of Kyee Gaung Taung and Taung Gyi Yinn.

“We lost all our shrimp and paddy farms because of Giri. After the storm we had nothing left – it was all under water. Our business has suffered ever since,” said one villager in Kyee Gaung Taung village in Myebon township.

Private banks impose extra charge on international money transfers

YANGON—Several of Myanmar private banks are charging nearly Ks 15 (US$0.015) per US dollar on international money transfers in addition to the transfer service fee, raising concerns among the local business people.

“I usually work with my export earnings deposited in United Amara Bank, Asia Green Development Bank and Kanbawza Bank, especially for importing cars,” said one automobile importer.

Gov gives Rakhine 38pc budget bump

The Rakhine State parliament has ramped up its proposed budget for the 2013-14 financial year by 38 percent, it announced at a meeting on November 19.

The new total of K109 billion (about US$112 million) represents a hike of K30 billion over the initially proposed budget of K79 billion, which was discussed on November 9. It also represents a 60pc increase on last year’s budget of K68 billion – itself a K4 billion increase on that year’s original proposal of K64 billion.

Myanmar’s capacity, productivity still at the bottom of ASEAN, economists say

Despite its potential growth, Myanmar is still at the bottom of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in terms of capacity and productivity, economists say.

“The government is responsible for microeconomic reforms, and it must develop more. The citizens also need to change a lot, to adapt to the new environment. Nowadays, we have very low productivity per person in every sector, including knowledge-based and manufacturing sectors. We are below Laos for competitiveness. On the other hand, microeconomic reforms are necessary. We have a lot of shortcomings but we need to try to overcome them,” said Tin Win Aung, chairman of the MCC Group of Companies.

Twenty firms drop out of bidding on Myanmar offshore oil blocks

(Reuters) - About 20 companies dropped out of the final phase of bidding for oil and gas blocks off Myanmar's coast, a senior energy ministry official said.

While 61 companies were qualified to bid, only about 40 submitted applications by the Nov. 15 deadline, according to the official who declined to name the companies.

Tobacco companies invade Myanmar market

Almost half of Myanmar's population of 60 million consumes tobacco in some form. Most people chew tobacco in betel leaves and smoke cheroots. Filtered cigarettes tend to be seen mainly in cities, Al Jazeera reports.

Tobacco is becoming a major problem in this impoverished Southeast Asian country. Its widespread use is combined with weak anti-tobacco legislation. After the fall of military rule in Myanmar large multinational cigarette companies, looking for new markets, are starting to invade it.

New Light of Myanmar (25 Nov 2013 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (25 Nov 2013 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (25 Nov 2013 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (24 Nov 2013 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (24 Nov 2013 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (24 Nov 2013 - Sunday)

New Light of Myanmar (23 Nov 2013 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (23 Nov 2013 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (23 Nov 2013 - Saturday)

Organic Thailand to generate electricity from garbage in Mandalay

Organic Thailand has been allowed to invest in a project for generating electricity from garbage in Mandalay, according to the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC).

The 15-megawatt project is to be implemented in the southern part of the city. Its electricity will be distributed to the truck terminal, the crematorium, warehouses and water treatment plants in Amarapura Township. If production of electricity increases, power will be supplied to nearby villages.

Myanmar closes in on 2 million trips

YANGON, 21 November 2013: Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism reports tourist arrivals increased 83% since October 2010.

According to the announcement, there were about 800,000 tourist arrivals in 2010 and more than 1.5 million tourists by October this year. The count covered tourist arrivals at Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyi Taw and overland border checkpoints.

World Bank to launch community programme in southern Myanmar

The World Bank will soon launch a community programme in some villages in Kyunsu Township, Tanintharyi Region, in Southern Myanmar, sources say.

World Bank officials have already done a feasibility study. A team comprised of three World Bank officials and Khant Zaw, a director of the Rural Development department went on a field trip to the villages on Monday and Tuesday and met with local residents.

Ooredoo/Telenor pact looking for tower partner; government delays licence award

New entrants to Myanmar’s mobile market, Qatari-backed Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor have begun holding talks with a number of tower companies regarding potential infrastructure sharing deals, TMT Finance writes, citing unnamed sources. 

Myanmar Shopping Mall & warehouse invited to invest in hotel services

YANGON—A Myanmar Shopping Mall building and a three-story warehouse situated in Kyaukdata Township have been invited to invest in hotel services and other businesses, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

The rental life for the two buildings, rented by the Myanmar Hotels and Tourism Industry under the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, has now expired. The ministry has thus invited local entrepreneurs to run hotel services and related businesses with a five-year contract.

Friday, 22 November 2013

'Explore Myanmar as export destination'

In the backdrop of falling prices and a glut in the domestic sugar market, Myanmar could be a good destination for the export of the sweetener, according to an Indian embassy official in that country.

Burma Oil Terminal Faces Fallout From Yunnan Protests

The Chinese oil port at Kyaukphyu on the coast of Burma’s Arakan State, and the cross-country pipeline to pump oil into China’s landlocked Yunnan Province, face a major problem which could delay or slow down their operations.

Myanmar invites Mongolia to make investment in country

Myanmar has invited Mongolia to make investment in various sectors of the country following the enactment of new Foreign Investment Law, state media reported Thursday.

The invitation was extended by Myanmar Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Kan Zaw and President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) U Win Aung at a Myanmar-Mongolia business forum and business networking held here Wednesday.

Myanmar team in city on educational exposure trip

Imphal, November 20 2013: A 17-member team of students from Monywa Institute of Economics, Myanmar visited the Babina Diagnostics Centre located at Porompat here today.

The Myanmar team is currently on a 15-day long educational exposure programme conducted by Manipur University, which began on 15th of this month.

Rouse to cut ribbon at Myanmar office

IP law firm Rouse will open a new office in Myanmar (Burma) on November 22, WIPR can reveal.

The office, based in Yangon (also known as Rangoon), will offer filing and prosecution services for trademarks, patents, designs and geographical indications. IP commercialisation and technology transfer services will also be available.

Italian-Thai ditched as Thailand, Myanmar seize Dawei development zone

BANGKOK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Thailand and Myanmar seized control on Thursday of the multi-billion dollar Dawei special economic zone from Italian Thai Development Pcl to rescue the floundering project and convince foreign investors to finally come on board.

The takeover of the strategically located complex, billed as a gateway for trade with Southeast Asia, follows years of delays that have been blamed largely on the Thai firm's failure to secure private investment and agree on a power source for the 250 sq km (100 sq mile) deep-sea port, petrochemical and heavy industry hub.

Myanmar To Upgrade 30 Airports With Help From Domestic And Foreign Private Investors

Myanmar is inviting private investors to upgrade 30 of its 69 domestic airports to improve its underdeveloped air transport capacity and infrastructure.

“We want to stop using the government budget in the coming years, so we’ve decided to call for private sector investment in local airports,” said Tin Naing Tun, the Department of Civil Aviation director general, the Irrawaddy reported on Wednesday.

Opportunity outweighs risks in Myanmar: Ooredoo chief

Ooredoo remains upbeat about its plans to offer mobile services in Myanmar, despite reported delays in the telecoms licensing process.

Qatar-based Ooredoo, along with Norway’s Telenor, won tenders in June for two 15-year telecoms licenses. However, the actual licenses have not yet been formally awarded – partly because of delays related to the passing of the country’s new telecoms law, and partly because negotiations are still ongoing over telecoms rules covering things like competition, numbering and voice/SMS interconnectivity between competing networks, according to The Irrawaddy.

Myanmar, Mongolia issue joint statement on bilateral relations

Myanmar and Mongolia issued a joint statement Thursday as Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj ended his three-day state visit to Myanmar.

Presidents of both countries underlined that the first ever visit by a head of state of Mongolia marked the opening of a new chapter in Myanmar-Mongolia relations and laid down solid foundation for further strengthening the traditionally friendly bilateral relationship and cooperation.

New Light of Myanmar (22 Nov 2013 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (22 Nov 2013 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (22 Nov 2013 - Friday)

Rocket's Carmudi rides on Myanmar's Internet growth potential

Even though Myanmar has the world's second lowest Internet penetration rate, Rocket Internet still believes in the potential of a site advertising cars there.

Carmudi, its free car classifieds site, has been running in Myanmar for the past year and a half, asmotors.com.mm. The company also runs two other classifieds businesses there: property listing Lamudi (run as house.com.mm) and general classifieds ads.com.mm.

As Myanmar Modernizes, Old Trades Are Outpaced by New Competitors

YANGON, Myanmar — For years they poured out their hearts on the broken pavements of Myanmar’s cities and towns, young lovers desperate for privacy yet with no choice but to use what the Burmese call roadside phone shops.

Daw Myint Myint Than, who rents out her two phone lines in central Yangon, has heard it all: the sobbing, heartbroken women; the angry spouses; the duplicitous boyfriends who gush sweet nothings to one girlfriend, hang up and repeat the same sweet nothings to another.

Vietnamese Lessons for Burma

What Asia's new investment hot spot can learn from the successes—and failures—of the last Big Thing.

There's an undeniable buzz about Burma among business leaders these days, with investors betting on the long-stagnant economy becoming the next Asian tiger. But as exciting as this situation is, it helps to recall that it is not unprecedented. The case to study is Vietnam, another once-hot economy that has fallen out of favor, and now offers investors pointers on things to watch out for in Burma, as well as tips to Burma's leaders on traps to avoid.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

BURMA: Europe supports sustainable garment project

A new project aimed at promoting and supporting the sustainable production of garments in Burma/Myanmar has been launched with European support.

Germany’s Sequa GmbH is lead partner in SMART Myanmar – SMEs for Environmental Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency – supported by the UK’s Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry, business and industry organisations in Myanmar, and The Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP).

Telenor Still Negotiating With Burma Govt Over Telecoms License

RANGOON — Burma’s much-anticipated foreign-offered mobile telecommunications services are unlikely to be available before August 2014, as negotiations continue over finalizing network operator licenses and related telecoms rules.

“We are in discussions with the government about the draft license and we expect that to complete by the end of this year,” Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg said during a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday.

Resona Seeks Myanmar Bank Ties as Japan Companies Enter Market

Resona Holdings Inc. (8308), Japan’s fifth-biggest bank by market value, is seeking an alliance with a financial institution in Myanmar as its corporate clients enter the Southeast Asian nation.

The company sent an executive in charge of global businesses to Myanmar last week to study the country, President Kazuhiro Higashi, 56, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday.

MasterCard and China UnionPay acceptable at Ayeyarwady Bank ATMs

MasterCard and China UnionPay cards can be used for local cash withdrawals at the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of the locally owned Ayeyarwady Bank throughout Myanmar as of Tuesday this week, company sources say.

“We are very pleased to announce that Ayeyarwady Bank is ready to accept MasterCard and China UnionPay cards for ATM local cash withdrawals. We are proud to make this announcement now, in time to support the SEA Games and assist travelers coming to Myanmar to celebrate the Games,” said Phyo Aung, managing director of the bank.

Myanmar journalist describes big changes in media landscape

Myanmar is experiencing enormous change as it opens up to international investment after years of military rule.

The government's decision to lift direct press censorship has opened up new freedoms for publishers.

But it's also presenting fresh challenges for journalists, as well as an increasingly competitive media environment.

Myanmar to build three weather stations with Japanese aid

Myanmar will start building three weather radar stations in Kyaukphyu, Yangon and Mandalay to be completed by 2017 with Japanese aid worth US$ 38.7 million (Ks 37.65 billion), according to the Meteorology and Hydrology Department (MHD).

The first radar station will be built in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, in December. The second and third will be built in Yangon and Mandalay, respectively.

India gets on the highway to growth in Southeast Asia

With the implementation of the India-Asean comprehensive economic partnership, the target for two-way trade has been set at $100 billion by 2015

As India readies to sign the free trade agreement on services and investment with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), taking bilateral trade relations to the next level of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, the focus is on the laying out of a massive road connectivity plan to tie the region together to boost economic objectives.

ITD agrees to pay compensation for submerged farmland

DAWEI – Italian-Thai Development (ITD) has agreed to pay compensation for submerged paddy fields located in the project areas of the Dawei deep-sea port and Special Economic Zone, according to local.

Local farmers say the ITD company did not build the drain system very well, so the streams are blocked with debris and water is pouring into nearby paddy fields.

Telenor to launch Myanmar mobile service in third quarter 2014

BANGKOK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Mobile phone company Telenor expects to start operating its network in Myanmar in the third quarter of 2014, a few months later than expected, due to a delay in finalising the licence, the CEO said on Wednesday.

Myanmar, one of the world's least developed telecom markets had mobile penetration of just 11 percent in 2012 - per capita, the fourth lowest in the world.

Myanmar to cooperate with four countries on construction projects

Myanmar is preparing to cooperate with Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam in building roads, bridges and high-rise buildings in the country, according to the Myanmar Constructors Association (MCA).

The country is now in discussions for various construction projects, having already signed a MoU with those countries.

Big tobacco eyes Myanmar market

A smoky haze greets customers walking into any of Yangon's tea shops as patrons light up hand-rolled cigarettes known locally as cheroots.

Elsewhere in Myanmar's main city, vendors sell cheap cigarettes smuggled from China to drivers stopped at traffic lights. The pavement is painted red with the spit of people chewing tobacco wrapped in betel leaves.

Telenor Myanmar invites distribution partners and franchisees

YANGON—Telenor Myanmar announced yesterday that it has launched a partner programme in preparation for the rapid rollout of a modern telecommunications network in Myanmar.

The programme will create new business opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs looking to become authorized distributors and franchisees of Telenor’s products and services for customers in Myanmar.

Myanmar Telecom Licenses Still Not Formally Awarded To Telenor And Ooredoo

Nearly half a year after Telenor and Ooredoo won the coveted telecom tenders to operate in Myanmar, the licenses that were expected in September still have not been formally awarded.

The licenses will allow Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo to operate for 15 years in Myanmar alongside state-owned Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT) and Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP). Telenor initially said it would launch its mobile network in eight months, while Ooredoo said it will issue SIM cards just six months after receiving formal licenses.

New deals reduce ITD's Dawei role

Thailand and Myanmar will tomorrow sign two agreements on the development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone that will radically reduce the role of Italian-Thai Development, a leading Thai construction company, in the mega-project.

Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan said yesterday that ITD would be fully compensated for its investment in the project since 2010.

Myanmar, Switzerland hold first economic dialogue

Myanmar and Switzerland held the first round of economic dialogue in Nay Pyi Taw, with Switzerland pledging to support Myanmar's sustainable economic development, state media reported Wednesday.

The economic dialogue took place between Myanmar delegation, led by Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Dr. Kan Zaw and visiting Swiss delegation, headed by Secretary of State of Economic Affairs Marie Gabrielle Ineichen Fleisch.

Myanmar hip-hop star to attend ASEAN-Japan music festival

YANGON—Myanmar hip-hop star and famous actor Sai Sai Kham Hlaing is planning to attend the ASEAN-Japan Music Festival, to be held at the NHK Hall in Tokyo on November 28.

The music festival is aimed not only at celebrating the 40th anniversary of the relationship between Japan and ASEAN nations but also at marking the Japan-ASEAN Special Summit.

Myanmar looks to private firms to improve dire air safety record

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar aims to lure private companies to upgrade and run nearly half its airports in a bid to spruce up its poor record on air safety and support a fast-growing tourism industry, officials said on Tuesday.

Myanmar has an air accident rate nine times the world average, aviation authorities say, and there are fears the figure could rise as the government aggressively expands the industry and private airlines add flights in a growing economy.

Hotels nearly overbooked as tourists flock to Bagan

BAGAN—Most of the hotels in Bagan are nearly over-booked as tourists flock to the most popular destination in Myanmar this peak season.

“There has been an increase in tourist arrivals to Bagan,” said Win Tun Naing, reception manager of the Yarzagyo Hotel.

Myanmar's west coast gets luxury development

THE luxury hotel located within Ngwe Saung Yacht Club and Marina Development will soft open in December, ahead of a full launch slated for 2014.

Part of the US$17 million development commissioned by Myanmar Yachting Federation president, Moe Myint, the hotel is located at Bu Kway Gyi village on Ngwe Saung beach on the country’s west coast.

Thai celebrities to visit Myanmar for pre-SEA Games activity

Thai actress Mai Davika Hoorne and singer and actor Patiparn Pataweekarn will visit Myanmar next month to meet fans and participate in pre-SEA Games activities, according to ADMA Media.

Mai Davika Hoorne, a lead actress from the Thai comedy horror film “Pee Mak”, has agreed to star alongside local hip-hop singer and actor Sai Sai Kham Haling in a Myanmar film targeted for the Asian film market.

Myanmar turns to Japan, Thailand to kick-start stalled Dawei

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar is set to wrest control of its Dawei industrial complex from Thai company Italian Thai Development over its failure to attract investors to a strategically located, multi-billion dollar project tipped as a game-changer for regional trade.

Tourist arrivals increase by 83 percent in three years

Tourist arrivals in Myanmar increased by 83 percent between October 2010 and October this year, according to Ministry of Hotel and Tourism statistics.

According to the announcement, there were about 800,000 tourist arrivals in 2010 and more than 1.5 million tourists in 2013. The tourists arrived via Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyi Taw and border gates.

Myanmar confirms ITD deal still firm

The 75-year concession granted to Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) in Dawei remains in place, but construction of the deep-sea port has stopped while the participation of international investors is being arranged, a spokesman for the Myanmar government said.

Set Aung, adviser to the Myanmar President Office, brushed aside reports that the government has terminated the concession to ITD to develop a special economic zone and a deep-sea port in Dawei, eastern Myanmar.

Comprehensive auto insurance system to be replaced

The comprehensive auto insurance system currently practiced by insurance companies will be replaced with a system practiced in other countries, says the deputy minister of finance and revenue.

The ‘knock-for-knock agreement’ will replace the existing system and will be drafted by First National Insurance Public. After the approval is released, the company will edit the agreement, said Maung Maung Thein, noting that the new system is a contract between insurance companies that many other countries use.

New Light of Myanmar (21 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (21 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (21 Nov 2013 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (20 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (20 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (20 Nov 2013 - Wednesday)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

DBS boosts presence in Myanmar

DBS Bank has opened a newly renovated representative office in Myanmar to meet a growing demand for banking solutions and greater market connectivity from both Myanmar and Singaporean businesses operating in the country. The new representative office, located in Yangon's business district, in Sakura Tower along Bogyoke Aung San Road, marks DBS' next phase of growth in Myanmar, where the bank has been present since 1993.

Bring in the lawyers

Since the lifting of US sanctions and the rolling out of a framework for a civilian government in 2010, the speed of legal reform in Myanmar has been blinding.

With the passage of the country’s first foreign investment law, a trade union law and accession to the New York arbitration convention, the landscape for business has been rapidly modernising.

New anti-corruption law targets crooked politicians, government officials

NAY PYI TAW—If officials in the current government are deemed to be corrupt, action can be taken against them by the next government in accordance with provisions of the new anti-corruption law, legal analysts say.

The anti-corruption law was enacted by the Union Assembly parliament on August 7 this year and took effect on September 17.

A trickle of foreigners follow the road to Mandalay

If the flow of Western expatriates filling Yangon’s bars, bakeries and beer stations can be described as a flood, then Mandalay is seeing just a trickle of the same.

Long a magnet for Chinese businesspeople, the city is home to just a few dozen Western expatriates – barely a fraction of the thousands of Western teachers, businesspeople and NGO workers clustered in Myanmar’s largest city.

Construction of Myanmar-China crude oil pipeline nearly complete

YANGON—More than ninety-six percent of construction is complete for the 771 km-long Myanmar-China crude oil pipeline, which will connect Maday Island in Kyauk Phyu District of Rakhine State to China, exporting 22 million tonnes of crude per year.

According to Mr. Zhang from the public relations department of the South-East Asia Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited (SEAOP), Myanmar will receive US$ 13.81 million (Ks 13.45 billion) per year in a royalties and an oil transit fee of $US 1 per tonne, according to the SEAOP.

Police designate tow-away zones

The Yangon City Development Committee and traffic police have established no-stopping zones on 37 streets in Yangon, with the aim of reducing congestion in high-traffic areas.

Police Lieutenant Zaw Myo Tun from No 2 Deputy Traffic Police Force (Yangon) said the no-stopping zones were established on November 11 on 16 north-south roads and 21 east-west roads in the city.

Health funds to be increased for family planning in 2020

NAY PYI TAW—Health funds will be increased to spend more on family planning in 2020, a move aimed at assisting about 15 million couples in Myanmar.

Dr Thein Thein Htay, Deputy Minister of Health, made the announcement a family planning pledge ceremony held in the nation’s capital on Friday.

Advertising coming to city circle trains

Four companies have won the right to advertise in Yangon’s circular trains, Myanma Railways says – but only the newer cars seem to be drawing the eyes of advertisers.

Tenders to display ads on the city’s commuter trains were announced in state-run papers in mid-October as part of government efforts to reduce losses on the service.

Local airports to be handed over to private sector

YANGON—Local airports in Myanmar are being allowed to approach private companies to handle their operations, according to the Directorate of Myanmar Aviation Department.

There are 69 domestic airports in Myanmar. Among them, only 32 airports including Nay Pyi Taw Airport, located in the country’s capital and administrative city, Yangon International Airport, the main hub for foreign travelers, and Mandalay International Airport, the second gateway, are now being run for local and foreign travelers.

Foreign apartment ownership schedule in condominium law

By providing for foreign ownership of condominium apartments, the draft condominium law could help steer the market toward a higher standard of construction and property development, industry experts said last week.

Foreigners will be eligible to own apartments on the 6th floor or above of condominiums, according to an official draft of the Condominium Law published on November 10 in The New Light of Myanmar.

ILO to conduct survey on manpower, including child workers, in 2014

The Ministry of Labour and the International Labour Organization will conduct a survey in 2014 on manpower, including child workers, according to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.

The MOU between the ILO and the Ministry was signed on Thursday last week.

Thai firm wins paper mill tender

A Thai company has won a tender to produce paper in Myanmar, with the prospect of more employment for local bamboo farmers who will supply it, the industry ministry has announced. The Double A company has won the tender to run the Thapaung paper mill, Myanmar’s biggest, which employs more than 1800 workers, the ministry announced on November 13.

EU, Myanmar agree to cooperate in business, tourism and mining

NAY PYI TAW—The European Union and Myanmar have signed a packet of agreements to cooperate in business, tourism and mining sectors.

“We’ve come here to help Myanmar improve the living standards of its people,” Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU said, following a meeting held in the Myanmar capital on Friday.

Taking stock: Norway assists fish survey

Scienists from Norway are to help update research on the volume and type of fish stocks in Myanmar’s home waters as a part of a 38-day project assisting the management of fisheries resources, officials from the Myanmar Fisheries Department said.

The Norwegian research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen will set off on November 13 from Yangon’s Nan Thidar port to conduct the survey.

Swiss business delegation visits Myanmar

YANGON—A Swiss business delegation arrived here today for a two-day visit to Myanmar, according to Corinne Henchoz Pignani, counselor and head of political and economic affairs at the Embassy of Switzerland.

The delegation representing Swiss companies, headed by Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, will be in Myanmar until Wednesday.

Authorities crack down on illegal wine

A leading food and beverage supplier to Myanmar’s restaurants has been forced to close amid accusations it illegally imported wine valued at K600 million (US$620,000).

The crackdown has sent shockwaves through the sector and prompted calls for reform of import rules, which industry sources say are outdated and only encourage illegal imports.

DVB Debate: How to tackle Burma’s economy

Even though the growth index is positive in Burma, the country’s economy is still driven by entrepreneurs who have connections to those in power. A recent World Bank report warned that conditions were ripe for high inflation.

On DVB Debate’s panel to discuss measures to tackle the Burmese economy were Aung Naing Oo from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development; Vice President of Myanmar Women’s Entrepreneur Association Dr Thet Thet Khine; and consultant to the Ministry of Commerce Dr. Maung Aung.

Pesticides hurting local consumers, experts say

Rampant use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides for the protection of crops in Myanmar may have a fatal effect on land, experts said during an agribusiness conference last week.

Pesticide and fertiliser sacks commonly used by farmers in Myanmar do not show the plethora of dangerous ingredients it contains, while others falsely advertise their contents, said Daw Than Than Sein, a consultant with the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association.

India eyeing economic corridor with Mekong

As part of India’s Look-East Policy and its economic integration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the government is promoting India-Mekong economic cooperation. Both sides are also planning a Mekong-India economic corridor, which will form an integral part of India-Asean connectivity.

Contested Sino-Myanmar oil pipeline nears completion

Local construction on the controversial US$2 billion crude oil pipeline that would flow from China to Myanmar is near completion though operations will be delayed until next year, officials said.

Requesting anonymity, an official from South-East Asia Crude Oil Pipeline Co Ltd, the firm that will operate the pipeline once it comes online, said Myanmar would complete its end of the pipeline this year.

Myanmar cautious over Japan's aid offers

We drove a 1997 Toyota as we passed by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). The sedan was purchased by a local friend for over $10,000 two years ago after the Myanmar government loosened its secondhand car import regulations. Within 100 meters of the UMFCCI, there were several dozen Japanese secondhand cars for sale.

Hard road for banks when infrastructure lacks

Poor infrastructure, internet penetration and low mobile phone ownership will continue to hinder the spread of banking in Myanmar, banking officials said last week during a seminar in Yangon.

Speaking at the Inya Lake Hotel on November 12, the deputy managing director of Kanbawza Bank, U Zaw Lin Htut, said challenges still confront an industry which only opened up two years ago.

Livestock Myanmar 2014 expo to be held in Yangon early next year

Livestock Myanmar 2014 expo will be held at Tatmadaw Hall in Yangon early next year, official media reported on Monday.

Scheduled to be held from January 23 to 25, the expo will feature booths covering the whole livestock value chain, said the New Light of Myanmar.

IP laws reach final draft

Pirates beware: A law protecting intellectual property (IP) could soon be on the books after intensive discussions with local and international experts on copyright, trademarks and industrial design, officials said.

After 11 rounds of discussion and amendments, and with input from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Science and Technology has a completed draft law.

Asian business leaders keen to merge Myanmar human resources with Japanese technologies

YANGON—Asian business leaders are keen to see Myanmar merge its human resources with Japanese technologies, the chairperson of the Asia Business Leaders Association (ABLA) told an investment seminar held on Saturday.

The seminar, organized by the Myanmar-Japan Friendship Association, was aimed at encouraging Japanese businesses to invest in Myanmar. It was also a chance for Myanmar authorities to explain recent developments in legal affairs governing foreign investments.

EU pledges to promote Myanmar garments in historic first meet

Garments labelled “Made in Myanmar” are likely to be seen much more in European countries soon thanks to an EU initiative to promote the local garment industry. The €2 million (US$2.7 million) project, called SMART Myanmar, will boost the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the rag trade.

Its goals are to build capacity and increase skills and knowledge in local partner organisations to help develop marketing and export strategies.

Thais reduced to 'matchmaker' in Dawei as ITD set to pull out

Myanmar's stalled Dawei mega-project, which Thailand has striven to get off the ground for years, appears set to pass out of Thai hands, as Japan takes on a bigger role, though the nature of this role is far from clear.

Thailand's largest contractor, Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), which is a contract partner with the Myanmar government for Dawei project development, is now packing its bags and going home, as the framework agreement signed between the two sides has lapsed, according to a source who is close to the project.

New Light of Myanmar (19 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (19 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (19 Nov 2013 - Tuesday)

Telling it like it is

Reporters and editors might be drawn to the tantalizing promise in the title of an editorial that ran last week in theNew York Times. Entitled, “It’s the Golden Age of News,” the op-ed by New York-based veteran journalist Bill Keller seeks to row against the tide in an attempt to rethink conventional wisdom that the news business as we know it worldwide is going down the tubes. 

A taxing matter for the real estate sector

Will the assessment scheme halt soaring land prices?
Real estate agents say a government move to generate more taxation revenue from property transactions has assessed the value of land, houses and apartments in Yangon at about 40 percent of market prices.

Govt must maintain momentum of reform, says World Bank official

Maintaining the momentum of economic reform is one of the main challenges facing the government, says a senior World Bank official.

“The World Bank can see some tangible results from economic reforms but the government needs to maintain the momentum,” May Thet Zin, the bank’s country economist for Myanmar told Mizzima in an exclusive interview on November 13.

Parliament accepts South Korean energy loan

Parliament has just accepted a USD $155 million loan from Republic of Korea for use in Myanmar’s energy and communication sectors.

U Zaw Myint Phay, vice chairman of the Constitution Review Joint Committee, confirmed that the funds will be allocated to the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

GE offers capacity-building programmes to Myanmar

U.S.-based General Electric (GE), one of the world’s leading firms in energy, health, transportation,and finance, announced on Tuesday that it has offered capacity-building programmes to public and private sector leaders in Myanmar.

For the next four years, GE has committed to training 10 government officials per year through the Asian Policy Leadership Forum (APLF) programme, as part of its US$ 7 million (Ks ) commitment to support broad training and capacity-building projects in Myanmar.

Myanmar private airline to fly more domestic routes

Myanmar's private airline -- Golden Myanmar will fly more domestic routes with two new Air Bus planes by January 2014, local media reported Friday.

Using the new 70-seated ATR airbuses ordered from France, Golden Myanmar Airline will operate nine domestic flights to the cities in southern Myanmar covering Mandalay, Heho, Kengtung, Lashio, Tachileik, Nyaung U, Putao, Myitgyina and Bhamo, said the Voice Daily.