Myanmar to pursue sustainable garment sector

Myanmar is projected by Asian Development Bank to be a middle-income country by 2030 as the country’s political and economic arenas undergo reforms to meet new challenges, said Aung Tun Thet, economic adviser to President Thein Sein at a seminar titled “Sustainable Development of Asia’s Garment and Textile Industry” in Yangon. The seminar was sponsored by the European Union and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

These reforms are also aimed at boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, with garment and textile industries being among the major sectors that the government hopes will attract “responsible” investors to ensure that Myanmar’s economic and industrial development are sustainable throughout the coming decades.

According to the president’s economic adviser, the government’s policy is to encourage investors to set aside between one and five per cent of their net profits for corporate social responsibility (CRS) projects, making Myanmar the only Asean member to have adopted such a policy.

In addition, Aung Tun Thet said FDI in Myanmar needs to abide by the United Nations’ standards on labour protection and other international regulations.

Labour Minister Aye Myint said at the same seminar that the EU and ILO had chosen an appropriate venue for the seminar because Myanmar is now at the “tipping point” of its transition to democracy as it also aims to lay down a solid foundation for sustainable industries and small and medium enterprises for both export and domestic markets.

He noted that the success of political and other reforms will heavily depend on the economic growth and successful labour-intensive industries such as garments and textiles, which have been creating a large number of new jobs in four years since the beginning of the reform process.

A total of 18 labour laws are in the process of being amended to ensure that foreign investors can effectively create new jobs in Myanmar, he added.

The labour minister said a successful garment and textile sector is essential to Myanmar’s continued industrialisation effort since it could draw big foreign investment as well as create many jobs, as evidenced by new factories and FDI currently entering the country.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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