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Myanmar targets US$1B in marine exports for fiscal 2020-21

Myanmar expects to export up to US$1 billion worth of marine products in fiscal 2020-21 notwithstanding disruptions as a result of COVID-19, said U Wai Lin Maung, Director General of the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. This is around 17 percent higher than in fiscal 2019-20, when the country raked in US$853 million in marine exports, a 20-year high at the time.

Myanmar is expecting higher overseas demand for its fisheries and marine products with Saudi Arabia having lifted a 2018 ban on fisheries imports. Myanmar’s marine products are mainly exported to Thailand, China and Europe. However, as these are perishable products, more cooperation between the related ministries is needed to manage internal transport and storage and minimize delays at the ports both in Myanmar as well as overseas, U Wai Lin Maung said.

Last month, Saudi port authorities seized and detained 30 containers of Myanmar fisheries worth US$80,000 each due to confusion over customs and policies. U Wai Lin Maung added that his department will support local aquaculture farmers and fishermen facing difficulties to avoid disruptions.

Source: Myanmar Times

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KB Bank Myanmar to begin operations in December

South Korea’s largest housing finance bank, KB Bank, has announced that it will formally launch KB Bank Myanmar in December. KB Bank was one of the seven foreign banks to be awarded a license to operate in Myanmar by the Central Bank of Myanmar in April this year. With a license in place, it will bring in a large amount of foreign direct investment into Myanmar, KB Bank stated.

The bank plans to sell advanced financial products in the country, offer financial support to domestic businesses and SMEs, real estate and infrastructure finance, and other new instruments and services. Three of the Korea-based KB Financial Group subsidiaries now provide financial services in Myanmar, including KB Bank, KB Kookmin Card (KB Card) and KB Microfinance. The bank has already received a license to operate, the KB Card has been in Myanmar since 2017, and is awaiting final approval for its 2018 license application to operate as a non-banking financial institution in Myanmar.

The KB Card, once approved, will offer care hire purchase facilities to customers, besides instalment based loans for purchase of mobile phones and high-end home appliances. It plans to expand through a network of branches in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. KB Microfinance has been operating in Myanmar since 2017 through its 21 branches in various states and divisions in the country. It has been lending funds for homes and small businesses to the local people.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Natural gas exports top $3.5 bln last FY

MYANMAR’S exports of natural gas in the past financial year 2019-2020 amounted to US$3.5 billion, the Commerce Ministry’s data showed. The figures plunged from $3.88 billion registered in the FY2018-2019, as per Commerce Ministry data. Natural gas is included in the list of major export items of Myanmar. Over 10 per cent of the country’s total export earnings
come from the sale of natural gas.

There are 53 onshore blocks and 51 offshore blocks, totaling 104 blocks. A total of 25 onshore blocks and 31 offshore blocks are operating under foreign investment. Natural gas extraction is being made at the Yadana, Yedagun, Shwe, and Zawtika offshore blocks as well as onshore drilling blocks. Yearly extraction is elevated to cubic feet in 670.36 billion from 600 billion this year, according to the fourth-year performance statement of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The Shwe natural gas field, located offshore from Rakhine State, was discovered in 2014. Natural gas extracted from the Natural gas export of Myanmar has fetched US$3.5 billion in the past financial year.

The Yadanar natural gas project is being carried out by the TOTAL Company, with its pipeline supplying natural gas to Thailand. Natural gas is also extracted in Yedagun, located offshore from Taninthayi and discovered in 1992. The Zawtika Project in the Gulf of Moattama mainly supplies natural gas to neighbouring Thailand. Production at Yadana and Yedagun is declining, and those projects will be halted in the coming years.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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New ASEAN-led trade deal to boost Myanmar manufacturing sector

The newly formed ASEAN- led global trading bloc, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), could boost the Myanmar manufacturing sector, according to the research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group. Myanmar could capitalize on the 15- country trade bloc, the biggest in the world, to grow its manufacturing base, the research group said. Peter Crowhurst, the chief executive officer of the British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar, told OBG that “local, regional and indeed global manufacturers who wants to be active in the ASEAN market place are taking advantage of the opportunities in Myanmar”. The Myanmar economy is very young, it is agriculturally based and overall manufacturing is in its infancy.

Crowhurst noted that Myanmar has a lower cost base, a growing infrasture and a receptive government that is seeking to strengthen and diversity its economy. The fresh overwhelming mandate the ruling National League for Democracy received during the November 8 polls would give impetus for more reforms that would enable the country to take advantages of the RCEP. With the new government under the direction of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, now is the time to build and strengthen capabilities of the respective ministries to support the effective and balances implementation of RCEP. During the last five years, international business invested over US$6 billion in 711 manufacturing businesses in Myanmar.

Similarly during those five years, firms mostly from Japan and Singapore invested US$1.1 billion in 50 businesses in Myanmar special economic zones. Manufacturing sector attracted the most foreign investments during the from 2016 to 2020 with $7.4 billion according to Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. The RCEP was signed on November 15 on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit. The signatories are the 10-country ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The new trading bloc represents around 30 percent of the world’s population, 30pc of global gross domestic product and about 28pc of the international trade. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: Myanmar Times

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China-Southeast Asia (Myanmar) International Trade Digital Expo

To promote the economic and trade exchanges between China and Southeast Asian countries, enhance Lancang-Mekong cooperation, deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Myanmar, and alleviate the negative impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on international economic and trade cooperation, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) will exhibit the China-Southeast Asia (Myanmar) International Trade Digital Expo online from December 2 to 11, 2020 in collaboration with China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC)

Date: 2-11 December 2020

Host: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade

Organizer: China Chamber of International Commerce

Contact address: myanmarexploring123@gmail.com

Website: http://southeasia.ccpit-expo.com

Teleconference

2020 Yeoju-Yangpyeong South East Asian Online Trade Mission

Date: 4 December 2020 (Friday)

Time: 9:00AM-12:00PM (Morning Session) , 1:00 PM- 5:00PM (Afternoon Session)

“2020 Yeoju-Yangpyeong South East Asian Online Trade Mission” 8 participated Korean Companies want to do joint businesses with local partners in Myanmar through this online business meeting

Place: 1607 A, 16th Floor, Time City Office Tower 2

Contact address: myanmaricc2013@gmail.com

Organizer: Myanmar International Consulting Cooperation

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New Myanmar economic recovery and reform plan to include agriculture improvements

The government is drafting plans to reform the agriculture sector in line with the Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP), which is now being drafted, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) in a November 18 statement. While the plan has yet to be finalized and made official, MOALI understands it includes a framework for agricultural development and reform. This aligns with MOALI’s aim is to develop more high quality agriculture, livestock and fisheries products to raise exports and stabilize prices. It also plans to raise investments in value-added food industries and carry out reform programs across the industry. The ministry will work to strengthen linkages between farmers and food producers.

Funds will be channeled into improving domestic logistic infrastructure and storage facilities, while work will be done to clarify farmers’ land rights, accelerate contract farming and hire purchase ways for agricultural equipment. Key to reform is finding and fostering new private sector business opportunities in the agriculture sector, Paul Pleva, Office Director, Economic Growth, USAID Burma, said during the International Market Opportunities for Myanmar Agricultural Products webinar last week. USAID is ready to support upgrades and where they exist, build on existing contacts and relationships, such as those established in the US, Germany, Japan and Netherlands to improve trade. USAID supports agriculture because strong economic links between communities promotes social cohesion.

In the previous year, Myanmar exported agriculture products worth US$3.7 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The government is drafting the MERRP after a recent review of the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP), which was rolled out on April 27, as the CERP was implemented as a short term response plan to mitigate the immediate impact of COVID-19 on households and businesses, the MERRP as an extension of the CERP will set out a recovery plan aimed at rebuilding the Myanmar economy over the longer term. The new plan will focus on macroeconomic and financial stability and priorities growth strategies that are sustainable for the economy in the long run, such as investments in energy sources that are renewable. It will also include support for agriculture, infrastructure that boosts connectivity as well as human capital and innovation.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Construction ministry discusses announcement of preferred bidder for elevated expressways project in Yangon

Union Minister for Construction U Han Zaw presided over the 4th meeting of the leading committee on construction of elevated expressways and outer ring road in Yangon yesterday afternoon. The Zoom meeting was also participated by the committee members and Union Ministers U Thant Sin Maung, U Win Khaing, U Soe Win, its secretary Deputy Minister Dr Kyaw Lin, departmental heads and officials from Nay Pyi Taw, and Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Regional Minister for Electricity, Industry, Transport and Communication Daw Nilar Kyaw from Yangon.

The phase (1) of elevated expressway project will have a total length of 27.5 kilometre at an estimated cost of US$800 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the member of the World Bank, is working as the consultant group for the project. The IFC has evaluated the technical and financial proposals from the 10 companies which passed

The meeting discussed cooperation of relevant ministries in the project. The elevated expressway project will be implemented by the Ministry of Construction and the Yangon Region Government under the public-private partnership system. The phase (1) of the 27.5-km long project will include a 19-km long four-lane way in the eastern part of the city, 6-km long four-lane way from east to west and 2.5-km long two-lane way connecting to Yangon International Airport to reduce traffic congestion in the city.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Import of sesame and raw peanuts threatens domestic prices

Mandalay wholesales of sesame seeds and raw peanuts have raised objections to a company’s application for a permit to import these two products, saying this must not be allowed since it will place downward pressure on domestic prices and impact local farmers. U Chun, Chair of the Mandalay Wholesale Center, met with executive members, merchants dealing in sesame seeds, beans and pulses, and edible oil millers on November 16 to discuss the issue of import and re-export of sesame seeds and raw peanuts on CMP (cut, make, pack) basis by the company in question.

The imports and re-exports under CMP will be tax exempt and prices will therefore, be cheap. Myanmar peanuts are mostly exported to China and with competition from cheap imports, the local prices will drop. If this happens, the farmers will be badly affected. However, should they export to other countries, then there is no problem. Sesame seeds and raw peanuts from China, India, Vietnam and Africa are already cheap, and with no taxes, the prices will be even lower, and hence, capture market share from local producers. Myanmar’s sesame seeds are pricier because of their superior quality, being organically produced with natural fertilizers, with good potential of higher demand and better prices in international markets. The country’s produce is exported to niche markets like Japan and the EU.

Local peanuts have a better taste and prices are 100 Yuan more than peanuts from China, and 200 Yuan more than Indian peanuts. Current prices of sesame seeds have dropped by K20,000 per bag of 45 viss, and peanut prices by K300 per viss, during this week. Such price fluctuations can be damaging for local growers. Past experience has shown how re-exports adversely impact domestic prices. The re-export of sugar had led to a drop in its price from K1400 per viss to K800. Zero taxes for imports, if they are re-exported, makes this option lucrative though it harms local growers’ interests. At this stage it is important to protect local farms and ensure price stability.

Source: Myanmar Times

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SMEs will be able to connect to the global manufacturing network

The 15 members of the RCEP will have more business opportunities, and Myanmar’s small and medium enterprises will be able to connect to the global manufacturing network, according to the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade. Than Aung Kyaw, Director-General of the Department of Foreign Economic Relations said. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is for the 10 ASEAN members and its six dialogue partners: China, Japan Korea India It is a free trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand. The agreement, which includes developed countries, will provide better trade and investment opportunities for Myanmar’s exports as it seeks to revive Myanmar’s economy beyond COVID-19.

According to state-run newspapers, the technology and assistance required for the transition to a technology-based digital economy, especially in the post-COVID-19 period, will be available in accordance with the terms of the Economic and Technological Cooperation Chapter of the Convention. The RCEP is comprised of 10 ASEAN member states and six dialogue partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand are negotiating a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which began in 2013. RCEP accounts for almost half of the world’s population, accounting for 42.2% of the global economy; It is expected to become one of the world’s largest trade groups, accounting for 29.1 percent of world trade and 32.5 percent of global foreign investment.

According to the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, Myanmar’s participation in the RCEP will increase Myanmar’s exports to a market that accounts for about half of the world’s population with duty-free access. The RCEP is intended to be a more modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial free trade agreement than the current ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. Myanmar’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will provide opportunities for Myanmar’s exports to more than half of the world’s population with duty-free access, and the agreement will also increase investment from signatories to Myanmar.

Source: Daily Eleven