US investment in Myanmar focus on natural resources, infrastructure and agriculture

Five broad sectors most interest American business people, including natural resource extraction and consumer goods manufacturing through companies such as Colgate, Pepsi Co and Coca-Cola, trade experts said.

Other US interests lie in infrastructure development for electricity production and distribution, road construction, and agriculture; where US firms can provide mechanical equipment as well as seeds and fertiliser.

In the services industry, the US will be looking to invest in banking and insurance ahead of the national stock market expected to be formed in 2015, trade experts have said in the past.

US firms were banned from investing in Myanmar but sanctions were eased in July 2012, which has prompted the arrival of the companies listed above as well as others.

However, one trade expert, Eric Rose, earlier this year that a number of operational challenges exist that slow business activity.

The most pressing of these is that most US banks are either unaware that they can handle Myanmar transactions or are deliberately refusing to do so, despite approval from the US Treasury Department to work with most of the country’s banks.

He said the government and US banking associations are trying to educate banks about this change.

Mr Rose added that local banks are still working to reintegrate themselves into international networks and getting money into or out of the country through correspondent banks can be a slow process.

The US Chambers of Commerce will open an office in Myanmar on October 31, with at least 25 companies already signed up as members, he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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