Chinese investors explore Myanmar market with caution

The delegation, organized by China’s Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation, is made up of representatives from 22 companies engaged in businesses such as infrastructure construction, banking, and hydro-power equipment manufacturing.

Wang Xuefei with the Zhejiang Communications Construction Group is among the 30 plus business people of the delegation.

“We don’t have any projects under construction in Myanmar now. But we are engaged in preliminary project assessment and discussions with potential business partners.”

Tint Swai is the CEO of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“There are so many sectors available for the foreigners. Among them there are hot sectors more interested by the foreign investors: 1. Infrastructure; 2. Telecommunication; 3. Energy and electricity; 4. Mining and exploration; and 5. Agriculture.”

China is now Myanmar’s largest trading partner and biggest source of foreign investment.

Lyu Xinhua, head of the Chinese business delegation, says the current relationship between China and Myanmar should help expand business ties.

“The leaders of Myanmar’s new government have been to Beijing and have met Chinese leaders in varied international occasions. They’ve repeated their strategic policy of sticking to the promotion of Sino-Myanmar friendly relations and welcoming investment from China.”

However, the new government’s attitude toward the Myitsone Dam project in the north of the country is an issue.

In September of 2011, the then-Thein Sein administration suspended the 3.6-billion-US-dollar China-Myanmar joint project, citing “opposition from the public”.

In August of this year, a commission was put together by the new government to assess government-backed projects, including the Myitsone Dam.

Lyu Xinhua says the reviews are something the Chinese business delegation is addressing.

“The issue of the Myistone Dam project should be up to the decision of the new government. Of course, we don’t hide our concerns. They need some time for this. Though it’s not a wind indicator for Sino-Myanmar trade and investment relations, it still has a certain guiding significance.”

The Myanmar government’s commission has submitted its first assessment report to the President.

Beyond the review, Lyu Xinhua says the Chinese business delegation is also asking for clarification of the foreign investment regulations the Myanmar government is currently looking at.

“The new investment law has been introduced, but detailed rules and regulations have not been hammered out yet. We hope the investment environment can be further relaxed so that investment facilitation can be improved and trade liberalization realized.”
China is Myanmar’s largest foreign investor.

As of the end of September, Chinese companies have pumped-in over 18 billion US dollars worth of investment in Myanmar, topping the list of 40-plus countries and regions that have investment in the country.

 

Source: CRI English

 

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