Apr 11, 2012

Myanmar welcomes S. Korean investment

Myanmar attaches importance to intended increased South Korean investment in the country and it was highlighted by a recent meeting between Myanmar President U Thein Sein and Korean Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy Cho Seok though he is a lower ranking official comparatively.

The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of a Korea- Myanmar CEO Business Initiative Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, showed the president's welcome and encouragement to the Korean entrepreneurs to invest in his country, especially in the sectors of agriculture, livestock, trade, communications and transport.

U Thein Sein said Myanmar is changing in the democratization process and restrictions on doing business are being relaxed step by step, creating immense opportunities for business undertakings for foreign investors.

He cited that Japan eyes to invest in Myanmar's Special Economic Zone and airline development, adding that Myanmar has enough graduates and skilled labour force to be employed in various sectors.

A 120-strong S. Korean business delegation from 86 private companies and about 260 Myanmar businessmen attended the forum, which covered discussions mainly on investment environment in Myanmar, major economic development plan and policy, business opportunities and potential, and Korea's economic development and its future.

On the occasion, presidents of UMFCCI and Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation in trade and investment between Myanmar and South Korea.

The discussions involved Myanmar's Investment Commission, National Planning and Economic Development Ministry, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) as well as Korea Development Institute (KDI), KEPCO and Daewoo International.

Myanmar Minister of National Planning and Economic Development U Tin Naing Thein said the forum helped promote the long-standing friendship between Myanmar and S. Korea, while Korean Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy Cho Seok said Korean companies hope to cooperate with Myanmar in technology and human resources development, disclosing that the Korean government will provide official development aid to Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the Daewoo International is expanding its collaboration with Myanmar in the onshore oil, gas and mineral exploration and development sector.

Daewoo has invested 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in gas exploration in Myanmar, representing the largest Korean investment in Myanmar.

In August 2011, a delegation, led by HANA International Inc of S. Korea, visited Myanmar and had discussions with the Transport Ministry on investments for all-round development of the special economic zone at the Thilawa Port Terminal.

Under the bilateral cooperation program, S. Korea is to invest 5 billion U.S dollars in building a city named Myanko in Myanmar's Thilawa Port. Myanko implies the meaning of Myanmar-Korea cooperation.

According to Myanmar official statistics, S. Korea's investment in Myanmar hit 2.9 billion U.S. dollars as of January, 2012 in 48 projects since Myanmar opened to foreign investment in late 1988.

Statistics also show that bilateral trade between Myanmar and S. Korea reached 970 million U.S.dollars in 2011, according to Korean statistics.

Of the total, S. Korea's export to Myanmar amounted to 660 million U.S.dollars, while its import from the Southeast Asian member stood at 300 million dollars.

S. Korea mainly imports from Myanmar garment, textile, forestry products, agriculture and marine products while exporting to Myanmar construction materials, machines, iron and steel.

South Korea is also helping Myanmar in developing human resources and receiving over 1,000 government staff through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) annually.

Source: Xinhua