The UK Department of International Trade (DIT) is leading a trade mission to Southeast Asia and the delegation will visit Myanmar on March 30 and 31. The trade mission focuses on infrastructure, energy and education.
Before coming to Myanmar, the trade mission to Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Southeast Asia has met with the ADB at the organisation’s headquarters in Manila and has explored how to access the pipeline projects. The delegation was in Jakarta until yesterday and is currently in Hanoi. In Yangon, the delegation is expected to take part in an aid-funded business mission workshop which will focus on education and infrastructure. Delegates will gain access to project information and procurement contacts for the ADB, World Bank, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), together with local government authorities which implement aid funded projects across multiple sectors.
According to the DIT, ASEAN is attractive to British businesses because of the region’s steady economic growth, increasing market reforms, and expanding consumer activities. The ongoing integration of the ASEAN economy and markets presents an opportunity for alignment of regulations and the establishment of common frameworks.
The challenges in the ASEAN, including Myanmar, are poverty and the need to make growth inclusive to all. Other barriers include bureaucratic systems, particularly those related to public procurement, governance issues and vulnerability to natural disasters. International development agencies and donors are heavily involved in the region to address those issues.
Last July, UK Parliamentary under secretary of state for the Department of International Trade Mark Garnier visited Myanmar to engage with local businesses community, stressing the need to promote bilateral trade relations with Myanmar.
According to the statistics of Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), UK investment in Myanmar ranked at fourth place with over US$3.4 billion as of June 2016, amounting 6.4 percent of the country’s total foreign investment.