Permission for some businesses to reopen in Yangon ‘appropriate’ : UMFCCI

Business insiders and executives have commended the government’s move to allow some business to reopen amid COVID-19. Allowing cut-make-pack (CMP factories, workplaces and small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) to resume is an appropriate move. The factory closures have hurt workers’ incomes and has been bad for the country’s economy. Workers now face difficulties making ends meet due to the lack of wages as a result of the closures and the lack of productivity in the manufacturing sector has also affected the economy.

The health of the public is important but allowing businesses to operate normally is equally so. CMP factories, workshops and SMEs in Yangon that meet the ‘A-level’ practices in COVID-19 containment measures will be allowed to restart work after obtaining approval from the National Level Central Committee for Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19. The committee has also allowed work at some construction sites to resume, as this is difficult to suspend due to the nature of the construction work. The Yangon regional government will examine the level of adherence to the directives of the health ministry and grant approvals for factories, workshops, and workplaces to resume business.

The regional government will resume work from October 12 following the closure of its offices last week after several employees tested positive. While the stay-at-home order is still needed in townships with a higher number of positive cases to ensure effective control of the pandemic, adjustments to healthcare restrictions are also requires to preserve jobs and support businesses. In that light, the government is attempting to facilitate the reopening of CMP factories so that workers can return to work. The health ministry first issued a stay-home order and closure of factories in Yangon on September 22, banning factory workers from going to work until October 8. With the number of COVID-19 cases still on the rise, the order was later extended to October 21.

Source: Myanmar Times


Withholding tax exemption extended until December in Myanmar

Myanmar will extend a 2 percent withholding tax exemption on exported goods and imports license fees until December to allow companies to manage their cash flows. The National Level Committee on Prevention, Control and treatment of COVID-19 has decided to extended the exemptions and reliefs until December.

The Ministry of Planning and Finance has also extended the deadline on paying income and commercial taxes. The Central Committee will issue instructions based on the COVID-19 situation. The 2pc withholding tax exemption on exports will be extended from September until December and fees to renew import and export licenses nearing expiry will be temporarily extended until December. Applications can be done online.

License extension applications for up to five years will be made available although license extension fees will remain the same. Import license application fees will be capped at K 30,000 to the end of December as well. Usually, the fees are K 30,000 to K 90,000.

Source: Myanmar Times


Businesses in Myanmar urged to register trademarks in line with new law

Business owners should register their trademarks in line with the Trademark Law to streamline the process of shifting from the first-to-use system to the first-to-file system, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced on August 28. The first-of-file system grants trademark owners the right for registration of the mark to the person who files his application under the law first. All trademark owners are obliged to follow the announcement if they want to enjoy a right of priority in Myanmar. This mean that trademark owners who have filed an application for registration of the mark in any member state of the Paris Convention or World Trade Organisation shall have priority in registering the mark in Myanmar.

Application should be filled at the Register from October 1. Once approved, the official registration date will be the date of filing. Under the Trademark Law, a registered mark is valid in Myanmar for 10 years from the filing date. Trademarks are the keys of business. Consumers choose products by looking at the trademark. Their concern is that there would be some dispute among owners of products that bear the same brand or name. The government should conduct educational programs on how to solve such issues. Many small and medium size enterprises have collected the needed documents for registering their trade marks and are now preparing to apply. Applications can be done electronically or at the Department of Consumer Affairs under the MOC.

Business owners may register on their own or through agents and lawyers. When applying to register the trademark, the mark for which the copyright is being applied for must be the same as any previous trademarks already registered with the Registrar or the real trademark which is currently used in the market. The goods and services provided under the trademark must also be the same and international classifications provided under the trademark must also be the same and international classifications provided. The new Myanmar Trademark Law was passed in January 2019. This was followed by the Industrial Design Rights Law, Patent Law and Literature and Art Copyright Law for Intellectual Property Rights in 2019. The four laws are not yet in force. A date of commencement of the laws will be set when the President issues a notification.

Source: Myanmar Times