Government ministers and private sector representatives met at a workshop on Tuesday to formulate a national export strategy (NES) aimed at boosting Myanmar’s trade and economic development.
The Deputy Minister for Commerce delivered the opening speech at the National Export Strategy for Myanmar workshop in Yangon where he outlined the plan.
“The national export strategy should comply with our national all-round plan. This is an important step towards the mainstreaming of trade and the country’s national development plans,” said Pwint San, Deputy Minister for Commerce.
The five-year export strategy will be developed in four stages: preliminary consultation, detailed discussion, designing the project and implementation, according to the deputy minister.
“Designing the project will take more than one year and implementation of the project will take nearly four years,” Pwint San added.
Consultations will take place from 1 to 11 October at the headquarters of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) in Yangon and an action plan will be finalised by the end of this year. Myanmar’s cabinet recently approved the sectors to be included in the NES design initiative. They aim to increase exports of rice, pulses, beans and oilseed crops, fish and other sea food products, as well as textiles and garments and rubber.
The country currently relies on a few key export products, such as rubber and pulses.
The strategy aims to develop priority sectors, and it will explore the growth potential for new and existing products. These steps are in line with the government’s objective of supporting traditional export sectors, such as agriculture, while promoting export diversification.
The strategy also aims at improving Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), providing them access to finance, trade information, export facilitation and logistics.
As a developing country, Myanmar’s national economy heavily depends on its export earnings.
“We can achieve greater export earnings and also greater employment opportunities if we can export value-added products. We need to find new export markets. But in order to achieve this goal, we need to become more competitive to meet the requirements of the export market,” said Win Aung, President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
Win Aung pointed out three important issues for boosting the country’s export volume: assets/capital, technical know-how and market essence. He also urged the private sector to attend business matchings arranged by UMFCCI.
The national export strategy will be formulated with the support of International Trade Centre (ITC) who is providing a trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) programme based on the priority areas identified by the government and development partners.
The TRTA programme aims to strengthen private-sector competitiveness and attract international businesses to invest in priority export sectors.
ITC is already working with the Ministry of Commerce and UMFCCI to formulate the NES plan at the request of Myanmar government. The plan is also funded by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
“The government has decided to focus on sustainable economic development. Private sector development is one of the priorities for the country’s growth. GIZ is really delighted to support the project,” said Irina Scheffmann, a GIZ representative.
ITC has been supporting the private sector in Myanmar since 1999 when it partnered with the UMFCCI as part of a regional South-South Trade Promotion Programme. The programme helps to establish new business contacts for small and medium-sized enterprises in Asian markets.
Source: ELEVEN Media