Immediate Date: 24. July. 2019
The Myanmar Liquor Association clarifies its position on the importation of foreign liquor
The Myanmar Liquor Association (MLA) was formed in 2014 by a group of local businessmen who dealt with the liquor industry in Myanmar. The group has now more than 250 members and is growing in strength.
The main aim of the MLA is to promote and grow the local liquor industry in Myanmar and to ensure that there is a “level playing field” for all local manufacturers in the country. As long as the organisation manufactures its products or processes its products in Myanmar it is welcome to sell its products here in the country.
The MLA has also taken its responsibility of promoting the industry and its issues to the various government agencies and to be an advocate for the industry towards government and non-government entities. This would require the MLA to act as the industry advocate for policies and regulations that will affect its businesses and its employees.
“The MLA has always taken the stand that it is here to promote the local liquor industry. We have not objected to any business that wish to start up in Myanmar, provided they setup their processing or manufacturing in our country. If they import the products it should be done so that the local manufacturers are not penalised for being local.” Said U Soe Lwin, President of MLA.
“The main problem we see with the relaxation of the importation policy is that it does not address the “grey-market” situation where the wines are smuggled through our border areas and they are not taxed or government revenue paid. The situation needs to be equalised and formalised so that the market is fair towards the local manufacturers (who pay their taxes and dues).” Said U Win Thaw, the Secretariat of MLA.
The MLA is ready and open towards all competition and we are confident of our products. However, the non-payment of the revenue and it is estimated that as much as 1/5 amount is lost in unpaid taxes every year in “Wine grey-market” activities.
The Local liquor industry contribute over 180 Billion Kyat towards taxes and other government levies every year and it is not different for this 2018-2019 financial year. In fact our industry leaders are some of the country’s top 10 tax payers.
The MLA currently employs over 30,000 people in the industry and has indirect business impact to over 2 million trade and business partners. We believe that our members should be truthful and transparent in their business dealings and to declare their income and revenues correctly for taxation purposes. MLA contributes to our society with Road Safety campaign and disaster relief.
In addition, the MLA members have individually contributed back towards society through their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes which have benefited thousands of local townships and their residents.
“The importance of a “level playing field” for all players in this market cannot be emphasized enough. We believe that competition is good, but it should not be at the disadvantage and detriment of the local industry and players. The big international players have very deep pockets and can create situations where the local producers are put into a disadvantage. We urge that the government give due consideration to the local industry and create a level business situation where we can all compete in a fair and just playing field” stated U Htay Lwin, General Secreatary.
We call for the government to look into the “grey-market” and to help the local industry compete effectively through equal taxation rules for both local and international players.
To reiterate our position, these are our main points that we wish to emphasize:
- MLA is not against the importation of liquor into Myanmar provided that there is a fair and level Playing field for all the participants of this business
- There has to be more control and regulations for the “grey-market” as billions of Kyats are lost in government revenue every year and the competitors do not pay their respective taxes.
- The implementation of a more transparent and clear set of rules for the valuation of import materials especially in the liquor industry.
For more information please contact:
U Win Thaw
Email: [email protected]
Secretariat of MLA