sanctions

Suu Kyi warns US, EU not to be over optimistic about Myanmar 0

Aung San Suu KyiSource: Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned the United States and the European Union not to be over optimistic about Myanmar during her second European trip, according to Vatican Radio.

The Vatican Radio reported that the Nobel Laureate has said Myanmar is still not a democracy nation even though it has been freed from military rule and has been undergoing reforms. More…

Using sanctions to promote responsible investment in Myanmar 0

Despite Myanmar's reforms, the US has yet to lift sanctions and American businesses must submit reports on their activities there

Despite Myanmar’s reforms, the US has yet to lift sanctions and American businesses must submit reports on their activities there

Reposted from Financial Times’ beyondbrics
By Christopher R Wall and Aaron R Hutman

A bold experiment has been launched in the realm of sanctions policy among developed countries. Since July 1, US companies and investors have been required to submit reports on their activities in Myanmar as a condition of making new investments there.

The move follows nearly a year of debate and deliberation in the US government, which resulted in the publication last month of the State Department’s “Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements” for US companies. More…

Myanmar: Tales from the last business frontier 0

Coke-Myanmar-citizenReposted from CNN Money
By Steve Hargreaves

Doing businesses in Myanmar — a country that globalization largely missed — has its quirks.

Take Coca-Cola. Taking advantage of newly eased sanctions on the former military dictatorship, Coke (KO, Fortune 500) cut the ribbon earlier this month on the first bottling plant the company has had in the country since before World War II. But in rolling out its product, Coke found itself with a dilemma it seldom has: A lot of people didn’t know what Coke was.

“We had to do taste tests for the first time in years,” said Petro Kacur, a Coke spokesman. “Everybody’s had a Coke, except if you happen to be from Myanmar.”

There are just two remaining countries in the world where one can’t legally obtain a Coke: North Korea and Cuba. More…

Decades-old bets in Myanmar’s tech industry finally reap rewards 0

imagesReposted from Myanmar Business Network

It may have taken almost two decades, but Tun Thura Thet’s investment in one of Asia’s poorest countries is finally paying off.

“I’ve been waiting here for 17 years to have this moment,” he said, sitting at his office in Yangon, Myanmar. “After 10 or 12 years, we almost gave up.”

Tun Thura Thet is CEO of Myanmar Information Technology (MIT), one of the few software companies that managed to survive under the country’s military rule. But after years of facing a stagnant business environment, Myanmar’s tech industry is starting to tap into opportunities brought on by the nation’s move toward democracy. More…

Remittances from Cubans abroad drive the island’s economy 0

The injection of remittances has been a powerful pillar for the country’s economy, which has been practically stagnant and with high levels of unemployment.

The injection of remittances has been a powerful pillar for the country’s economy, which has been practically stagnant and with high levels of unemployment.

Reposted from The Miami Herald
By Juan Carlos Chavez

Cash remittances to Cuba in 2012 surpassed all revenue coming from the main components of the Cuban economy while becoming the largest element of support to the retail market, according to a study by a Miami-based analysis group.

The study, titled “Remittances to Cuba: the Most Powerful Engine of the Cuban Economy,” was done by The Havana Consulting Group. It concludes that in 2012, remittances reached $2.605 billion. The number represents an increase of more than 13 percent compared to the previous year of nearly $2.3 billion. More…

GE Executive Says U.S. Companies Playing Catch-Up in Myanmar 0

General Electric Co. Vice Chairman John Rice, pictured speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum, says of rivals to U.S. companies in Myanmar, “They’ve been here longer and it’s up to us to catch up.”

General Electric Co. Vice Chairman John Rice, pictured speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum, says of rivals to U.S. companies in Myanmar, “They’ve been here longer and it’s up to us to catch up.”

Reposted from The Wall Street Journal
By Duncan Mavin

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — U.S. companies are playing catch-up to their global rivals in Myanmar, where many of the Southeast Asian nation’s former ruling elite are on a U.S. government blacklist, according to John Rice, vice chairman of General Electric.

A rush of companies has poured into Myanmar in the past two years since the government began a process of political reform. Many countries have completely dropped sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation.

The U.S. has dropped some sanctions but it has held a relatively tough line. U.S. companies are effectively forbidden from doing business with anyone on the list of Specially Designated Nationals. Most of these people are former members of Myanmar’s ruling military junta or have close ties to them. More…

Brand Myanmar grabs the global spotlight 0

A sewer stitches accessories at Dear Garment factory last month. Garment exports are expected to exceed $1 billion next year, industry executives say.

A sewer stitches accessories at Dear Garment factory last month. Garment exports are expected to exceed $1 billion next year, industry executives say.

Reposted from Myanmar Times
By Myat May Zin

Western garment and footwear brands are conducting due diligence on individual Myanmar factories, the industry as a whole and the government’s political and reform process, industry representatives and officials say.

The brands are drawn by the easing of sanctions, duty-free access to new markets, a new legal framework that establishes basic workers’ rights and nascent efforts to improve working conditions at factories.

Recent disasters at factories in Bangladesh also have them looking for new countries to source from. “I don’t think we have seen the fallout from Bangladesh yet,” said Steve Marshall, the liaison officer of the International Labour Organisation in Myanmar.

Several global brands have contacted his office as part of their research. “Obviously they are concerned about reputational risk,” he said, adding that they are “doing their due diligence, seeking reports on broader human rights and also specifically on labour market issues”. More…

Myanmar Sanctions Won’t Be Extended, McConnell Says 0

indexReposted from Bloomberg
By James Rowley & Daniel Ten Kate

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the congressional sponsor of economic sanctions against Myanmar, said he won’t seek their extension in light of the former military regime’s shift toward democracy.

“I will not be making an effort to renew those sanctions this year, based upon consultations with the State Department,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told reporters at the Capitol yesterday after meeting Myanmar President Thein Sein. “We think enough progress has been made in Burma where implementation of the sanctions this year is actually not a good idea.”

Thein Sein’s moves to allow more political freedom and open Myanmar’s economy following about five decades of military rule have attracted companies including Ford Motor Co. (F), Coca-Cola Co. and Visa Inc. He sought the end of U.S. sanctions in a meeting this week with President Barack Obama, a month after the European Union lifted punitive measures. More…

Fashion industry going strong 0

fashionReposted from Myanmar Business Network

Undaunted by the former sanctions regime, Myanmar’s home-grown garment industry is thriving, industry experts say. They attribute the success to the industry’s ability to cater to local tastes.

Over the past five years, local garment brands have been taking over more space because of their competitive price and good quality, some say. Unlike export-oriented businesses, they can employ and pay staff year-round without the need to wait for orders from overseas.

“We can pay the same wages throughout the year, without night-work and overtime, because we are operating the factory regularly. We know the tastes of Myanmar women and what kind of designs they prefer. Normally we copy the designs from Thai garments,” said Daw Sein Lae Lae, owner of Dear Brand garment factory in Shwe Pyi Thar township. The factory has more than 400 workers. More…

Myanmar anticipates total lift of EU sanctions 0

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

Reposted from Global Times

Foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) are due to meet in Luxembourg on Monday to make a decision to withdraw all sanctions against Myanmar, exactly a year after the regional grouping announced suspension of most sanctions against the country for a year except arms embargo.

EU’s expected total lifting of all sanctions against Myanmar in recognition of its significant reform process would boost EU’s investment in the country and further promote Myanmar-EU relations.

In March this year, Myanmar President U Thein Sein paid an 11- day goodwill visit to the five European countries of Norway, Finland, Austria, Belgium and Italy. The milestone trip has brought about enhancement of bilateral ties with the EU countries. More…

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