Dec 26, 2011

Dutch trade delegation visits on fact-finding mission

Representatives of some of the biggest companies from the Netherlands were part of a business delegation that visited Myanmar from December 12 to 16, the chief of the mission said last week.

Mr Gerard Vaandrager said the fact-finding mission, the first to be held in more than 20 years, was arranged by the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion.

During the visit the delegation met the ministers of energy, transport, commerce, and agriculture and irrigation in Nay Pyi Taw. While in Yangon, the delegation also met the mayor and Yangon Region’s chief minister, U Myint Swe.

Mr Vaandrager said he was pleasantly surprised by the country, the mentality of the people he met and the open nature of the talks with all parties.

“It was absolutely amazing. I never expected to receive such an encouraging response from the people we met.

“There are a large number of companies in the Netherlands that were interested to introduce themselves in Myanmar but wanted to wait on the outcome of the first mission,” he said.

“I will be happy to report all this positive news when I return to the Netherlands and expect to be back with an even bigger group in the beginning of 2012,” he added.

Foreign interest in Myanmar has surged this year after the government took office in late March. Official business delegations from more than 30 nations have visited since May, said U Win Myint, the Minister for Commerce.

KMA Hotel Group chairman U Win Aung met the Dutch delegation and said many members were keen to further investigate business opportunities in Myanmar.

“They were quite interested in Myanmar and would like to do business here, particularly in the infrastructure development and construction sectors,” said U Win Aung.

“When they met with the four ministers they [the Dutch delegation] had positive conversations,” he added.

Mr Vaandrager said that a Memorandum of Understanding for the formation of a Myanmar-Netherlands Chamber of Commerce had been discussed with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the idea had been received positively.

“I think it is necessary that prospective Dutch companies will be able to get the relevant information through a reliable local network,” Mr Vaandrager said. “I understand that there are a number of hurdles to be overcome before an international company can actually start doing business in Myanmar but I am confident that with our team on the ground we will come up with the right solution for any particular problem,” he added.

Delegation member Mr Willem Stuive, the managing director of Liberator Asset Management in Vietnam, said he presented an idea to the Ministry of Energy to harness farmyard waste to create fuel.

“I met with the Minister for Energy [U Than Htay] in Nay Pyi Taw and showed him my proposal to produce bio-diesel from farmyard waste,” he said. “It’s a good idea that helps to save the environment.

“He was really interested in my proposal. If it goes ahead we will bring the technology, skilled labour and investment here to do the project,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times