During a visit to the Nepal Chamber Expo-2018 in Kathmandu, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi stressed the importance of trade between the two countries and talked about the opportunity of investing and doing business in Myanmar.
The Myanmar State Counsellor is on a three-day official visit to Nepal. It is the first in her capacity as Myanmar’s leader since she visited in June 2014 as opposition leader.
The State Counsellor received the Foreign Minister of Nepal Affairs Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Hotel, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Information.
During the meeting, they openly discussed promoting bilateral relations and cooperation between Myanmar and Nepal, who share a long diplomatic history together.
They also discussed promoting bilateral trade and establishing a direct Myanmar-Nepal flight to promote tourism.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor and her delegation went to attend the Nepal Chamber Expo 2018 at the Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall, where the State Counsellor delivered a speech.
“This Expo will serve as an excellent platform for enhancing awareness, creating networks among our business communities and promoting economic and trade relations between our two countries,” said Aung San Suu Kyi.
As members of the BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), Myanmar and Nepal have been cooperating in the areas of commerce, investment, technology, tourism, human resource development, agriculture, fisheries, transport and communications, textiles and leather, among others.
“Moreover, we have been working together in the context of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme, which aims to promote regional prosperity, improve economic opportunities, and build a better quality of life for the people of the sub-region,” she added.
As of September 2018, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Nepal accounted for US$ 2.866 million.
The main export items from Myanmar are agriculture and forest products, hardwood and veneer while the import items from Nepal to Myanmar are consumer goods.
She also expressed delight for registration of ten Nepalese companies with the Myanmar Investment Commission as of March 2018.
“Of course, there is a lot of room for further economic cooperation between our two countries. Understanding and friendship between our two countries have been steadfast for many decades. The similarities in culture, tradition and experiences will enable us to enhance people-to-people contact, which will subsequently bring not just our peoples but also our business interests,” said the State Counsellor.
Since assuming office in 2016, the present Government of Myanmar has been firmly committed to creating an enabling and sound environment for peace and prosperity, according to the MOI.
“We have to strike the right balance between stability and development which are interdependent. Both are indispensable if we are to reach our political goal of democratic federal Union and lay a firm foundation for sustainable development,” said Aung San Suu Kyi.
“To this end, we have adopted a National Economic Policy which is inclusive and people-centred. We have also laid down an economic framework that will support the long-term conservation and fair allocation of natural resources among all States and Regions. Healthy growth is equitable growth that will act as strong, unifying force,” she added.
She continued to say that to create a more attractive, investor friendly environment, the Myanmar Investment Law was enacted in October 2016, adding that the law simplifies the process for investment applications, provides incentives, guarantees protection for business ventures, and a more transparent, more liberalized, and more protected investment environment. The Government recently established the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, which will play a pivotal role in creating business opportunities, encouraging local and foreign investments and coordinating all- round economic cooperation with regional and sub- regional organizations.
The State Counsellor reiterated that investments in Myanmar are fully protected by the law which was crafted to be in line with regional and international agreements. Among the 12 investment sectors of our economy, the leading ones are oil and gas, power and manufacturing.
“We would like to invite foreign investors to explore our priority sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, livestock production, export promotion and import substitution, power sector, logistic industries, education services, health care industry, affordable housing and industrial estate,” said the State Counsellor.
Soon after the enactment of the Investment Law, Myanmar Companies’ Law entered into force on 1st August 2018, with the introduction of the MyCO electronic registration system. Companies can now be incorporated online.
“The Myanmar Companies’ Law will transform the corporate landscape by facilitating company registration, reducing the regulations for small companies, creating a friendlier environment for companies, and improving compliance with rules and regulations,” said the State Counsellor.
“Myanmar is endowed with abundant natural resources. We also possess ample opportunities for infrastructure development as our government places special emphasis on prioritizing the basic needs of our people: particularly improved transportation networks, electrification, development of smart cities and improvement of healthcare and quality education. ”
“The last is the most important as our most precious resource is our people, particularly our young, who constitute a vibrant work force with enormous, as yet unplumbed, potential,” she said. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi encouraged the Nepalese business community to explore new opportunities in Myanmar and work together with Myanmar business sector for mutual benefits.
Additional speeches were delivered by former Prime Minister of Nepal and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Chairman of Nepal’s Merchant Association Mr. Rajesh Kaji Shrestha.
The officials and the State Counsellor then cut ceremonial ribbons to open the Nepal Chamber Expo 2018. The State Counsellor then toured the exhibitions at the expo, including exhibitions from Myanmar, together with the former Prime Minister and the Merchant Association Chairman. The Nepal Chamber Expo 2018 has 145 booths from Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and Myanmar displaying regional natural gems, jewelry, modern products and traditional accessories.
Myanmar is also displaying regional lentils and coffee products in addition to natural gems, jewelry, modern products and traditional accessories in 20 booths.